This BBQ recipe takes its name from the historical Mongolian emperor however it is not directly related to him. But it’s more related to the Hanami- the cherry blossoming festival when Genghis Khan lamb BBQ is eaten everywhere. When I spent three months in Sapporo (Hokkaido island) I had a chance to participate in this traditional festival. I really enjoyed the transient beauty of flowers (“flower” in this case almost always meaning cherry blossoms”sakura”). To study the origin of this custom I’d learned that the practice of hanami is many centuries old. It has been celebrated since the Nara period (AD 710-) from March to early May, when sakura bloom all over Japan. The earliest date is around the first of February on the island of Okinawa. The blossom forecast in Japanese the sakura zenzen (literally cherry blossom front) is announced each year by the weather office, and it is watched carefully by those planning hanami as the blossoms only last a week or two. In modern-day Japan, hanami mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath the sakura trees during daytime or at night. For instance in Okinawa, decorative electric lanterns are hung in the trees for evening enjoyment, such as on the trees ascending Mt. Yae, near Motobu Town, or at the Nakijin Castle. This is the most beloved holiday for the Japanese people since Sakura parties are the first official holidays of the new year in Japan.
In Sapporo we celebrated the sakura blossoming in the huge Odori park, where one of my Japanese friend Mitani san explained the origin of the name. According to him it started with a student joke when university students gathered once in the Sapporo beergarden and ate this grilled lamb they nick named Ghengis BBQ. The restaurant owner was fancied by the name and picked it up and started to sell the marinated lamb doish under the name Genghis kan. It became a big hit. Since mid of the 20st century Asian people has consumed not only at festive events but also during other occasions.
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
1-1/2 lbs. lamb shoulder, leg or loin (chef’s choice), thinly sliced, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 4 oz. mung bean sprouts
For the Marinade:
1/2 onion, 1/2 apple, peeled and cored, 1 clove garlic, 0.5 oz. fresh ginger, peeled, 5 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. sake (Japanese rice wine), 2 Tbsp. orange juice, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Grate 1/2 onion, apple, garlic and ginger with a fine grater into a large bowl. Add yoy sauce, orange juice sugar and pepper. Combine. Add lamb to the bowl. Mix and marinate for 15 minutes or overnight. Slice onion and carrot into bite sized pieces and
plate with mungo bean sprouts. Set all ingredients and serving plates on a table along with the Indoor Electric Grill. Preheat the Indoor Electric Grill at HI for 6 minutes or until the operation light turns off. Place some vegetable
around the edge, and turn the heat down to MED. Please be careful of the heated grill When the vegetables on the grill are cooked half way through, place marinated lamb on the center of the grill Spoon some marinade sauce from the bowl over the
grilling vegetables while they cook Flip meat once, and when they reach your preferred doneness, remove vegetables and meat to serving plate Continue to add vegetables and meat to the grill, cooking and eating as you go.