Jean-Claude Van Lamb - It's all in the Technique

Take a moment to close your eyes and think of your most
disliked ingredient. Hate is a strong word and it should never be
used to describe a feeling towards the wonder of food, but I must
admit that my penchant for lamb stopped right at spelling the
word. Lamb. Did you think of your most disliked ingredient or
dish? Got it? Grab on to that thought and now multiply it by a
million. That’s how much my taste buds disagreed with this
protein.


Most people love lamb. In fact, I know some that adore it more
than the usual standbys like the tried, tested, and true Chicken
or Beef. For full disclosure, I’d like to divulge that I enjoy mainly vegetables and fish. Red meat and poultry aren’t exactly my go-
to dinner delights, but on one fateful night here in Dubai, my life changed.

 

A few friends of mine had thought it would be a great idea to
introduce me to a local hot spot where they specialize in my
kryptonite of food. Dubai has an eclectic mix of cuisines in its
dining catalogue, but what many cooks here in the city do best is
East Indian and Pakistani. This restaurant was neither. This
local haunt expertly crafts dishes from Afghanistan, and the
restaurant is appropriately called ‘Afghan Khorasan Kebab’.

 

I sat down at a long communal table with an open mind and
wallet. The prices were fantastic so even if I went home with an
empty stomach and hunger pains, I would’ve at least went home
without a hole in my pocket.
The first dish arrived and my nose performed a ballet around
the aroma that came from this tiny bowl of soup. Spiced right
with notes of Afghani seasonings, I dove in and was surprised by
the complexity of flavours. The broth was light and full of a tomato tang. There was definitely chilli in there, and it probably
masked the lamb or enhanced it. Either way, it did wonders for
the dish and my dislike for lamb slowly turned in to kudos to the
cook.


‘I don’t know how long they braised it for or
what magic they incanted during the
cooking...the technique was proper.’


Where my palate took a complete turn was during the main
course. I started to question my life’s existence after a few
spoonfuls of fluffy rice and slow-cooked lamb leg in a stew of
lord-knows-what. I don’t know how long they braised it for or
what magic they incanted during the cooking, but what I do
know is that the technique was proper. The ingredients could’ve
been lamb on top of lamb infused with lamb, but the fact
remained that they took their time and didn’t cut any corners in
the preparation.


Like any activity or sport, what separates an amateur from a
professional is skill and technique. Jean-Claude Van Damme
was certainly no amateur on screen, kicking away the bad guys
in his Martial Arts films. I attribute his saavy action to the
technique in his moves. Despite the fact that he was a terrible
actor and a culturally-mocked fighter, he still continued to
entertain. In the case of Afghan Khorasan Kebab, their
Tripadvisor ratings may not be off the charts and their
reputation for an overall dining experience may not be popular,
but Jean-Claude Van DAMN they make some pretty kicked up
lamb. I was certainly entertained.

Aphisith Phongsavanh