So on to the llama. It arrives in a pack of two fillet steaks. I didn't really know what to do with it, as it was my first time cooking llama, so I decided to treat it much like red meat and go from there.
It was a rich, dark, strong-tasting meat, somewhere between beef and lamb - sweeter and richer than beef but more savoury than lamb. As with the other exotic meats I've tried there was no fat on the meat at all, and it wasn't greasy or chewy, just really tender and lean. I absolutely loved it, and the children loved it too.
I cooked the carrots first, because I left them in quite chunky pieces and they take so long to cook. So giving them a quick burst in the pan before everything else gave them a golden colour and meant they weren't still raw at the end.
One thing I would say is that I sliced the steaks up into thin pieces, and cooked them just for a couple of minutes in the hot pan. They cook really quickly and you don't want to overcook them - basically get the meat in the wok or frying pan when everything else - your rice, noodles etc - is just about done. The quantities below served us happily, as a family of two adults and two young children with vegetables and rice, and we reckon the strong flavours of the Chinese spices, ginger and soy worked really well with the tasty, dark meat.
If you're thinking of trying llama, have a look at the Allens of Mayfair website, where they can also supply diced llama or llama haunch steaks.
Recipe for Chinese Style Stir-Fried Llama Fillet
- Pack of two llama fillet steaks
- a scant teaspoon of Chinese 5 Spice
- about 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 3 chunky garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
- 3 spring onions, washed and chopped into rings (including the green parts)
- a teaspoon of pureed ginger (or a teaspoon of finely chopped ginger)
- 1 large carrot, trimmed and sliced into matchsticks
- A drizzle of sesame oil
- Boiled rice or noodles, to serve
- Put a pan of salted water on to boil and cook the rice (or noodles) as per the instructions on the packet.
- Put the llama steaks on a chopping board and slice them thinly. Spread the pieces out across the board and scatter over the Chinese 5 Spice to cover them. Drizzle over enough soy sauce to cover the meat, and toss with your hands so that the meat is covered with the sauce mixture. Leave to one side while you get on with the rest.
- Heat a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil in a hot wok or large frying pan and throw in the carrots. Stir fry, on a high heat until lightly golden, but still firm. Remove and set aside.
- Add a little more oil, if you think you need to, and stir fry the llama strips, complete with any liquid that has collected on the board, until the meat is browned. This will take about a minute.
- Throw in the spring onions, garlic and ginger and return the carrot to the pan. Stir fry until the meat is just cooked, around another minute or so. Add in a tiny splash of water, which will create steam and help finish cooking the vegetables. Drizzle in about a tablespoon of sesame oil to finish the dish, which will give it a fresh, nutty flavour.
- Serve immediately, with your rice or noodles.