Chinese Five-Spice Lamb Chops

Easter always kind of gave me the creeps. The man-sized bunny, eating chocolate before lunch and hunting around the house for smelly hard-boiled eggs, struck me as tacky and bizarre. My mother would dress me up in a white straw bonnet, with patent leather shoes and gloves, tights, slips and crinolines under my fancy dress, which would all start to itch terribly about halfway through the Hosanna homily at St. Mary’s of the Visitation. Resurrection and Cadbury cream eggs were topics I felt too young to understand. And I was ambivalent about spring. Oh, and hams. God, hams are weird. Giant, sweaty holiday hams totally make my skin crawl. So pink and sweet and unnatural. Ugh. Easter, man. It’s oppressing me.

My idea this year is to host a less than traditional affair, keeping things casual and secular. I plan to recreate the deviled eggs from last year, as well as pudding cookies studded with pastel-colored candy, which are magnificent. A light pasta salad, jammed up with peas and asparagus seems lovely and then, these: so amazing-lamb chops with an Asian-inspired marinade. I bought four beautiful chops from the butcher shop, let them sit all day soaking up the brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, etc. And then I broiled them in about six minutes, until they were a very pink medium-rare. I’m taking back Easter, everybody. And there won’t be a glazed ham in sight.

Chinese Five -Spice Lamb Chops
Adapted from a recipe by Sam Choy


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 lamb chops


In a large bowl combine all ingredients into a paste. Spoon over lamb chops and marinate for at least 4 hours. Broil the chops, 3 minutes a side. Let them rest before serving with a sprinkle of Kosher salt.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.


  1. Hey! These look fantastic! I’m thinking about making these tomorrow for my husband’s birthday. I was wondering, what did you served under the lamb chops?

  2. Some Chinese restaurants in NYC feature pan-broiled lollipop lamb chops, a dish which appears to be easy to prepare, but a recipe for it seems not to exist on the internet. Yours comes close, I think. I recognize some of the ingredients but I haven’t nailed it yet when I try to recreate it in my kitchen. Chinese celery (indispensable), red onion, and a little five-spices powder are definitely in there, and no cilantro. The vegetables are probably sautéed separately and combined with the chops in the pan before serving. I do use 2 Tbsp of soy sauce and a pinch of hot pepper. The restaurant version does not have any noticeable sauce. These chops are finger food. Any ideas on this?

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