Szechuan Lamb

1 lb. to 1 1/2 lb. lean lamb, boned from the leg

Marinade for meat:
1 tbsp. soy
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. sherry
3 slices ginger, minced
1 tsp. sugar

1/4 cup tree ears, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, drained and rinsed
15 water chestnuts
1 carrot, shredded for color (optional)
4 scallions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp sherry
1 to 2 tsp. hot chili paste or red chili powder to taste
2 tsp. vinegar, preferably Chinese black vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup stock or water
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 cup oil for frying
A few drops sesame oil, optional

Slice lamb and then cut into shreds about 1 to 2 inches long. Mix meat with marinade ingredients and let stand about 1 hour. Prepare vegetables. Mince scallions and garlic and set aside. Mix remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Heat 2 cups oil in wok as for deep frying. Cook lamb slices in two or three batches, stir-frying rapidly and removing when just done. Drain off excess oil. Pour off oil, reserving two to three tablespoons. Quickly stir-fry minced scallions and garlic. Add vegetables, stir-fry. Add sauce mix and cook till thickened. Toss cooked lamb in wok till just heated through. sprinkle with sesame oil if desired and Serve.

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Cajun Country -- New Iberia, Louisiana