Friday, April 3, 2009

Braised Beef Tripe (Cantonese)

Once in a blue moon, I have the weird and bizarre tastebuds of Andrew Zimmern, the guy who simply chomps down anything squemish and strange for the TV. Besides my recipes of Piggies Ears and Tamarind Fish Head, I have been wanting to make this beef tripe dish for some time now. I admit that I don't like the wet markets in Asia and if I had to, I will still shop at the supermarkets. And I was so happy to have found beef tripe in Walmart instead of having to go directly to a butcher house!

Most American households eat normal and I have seen squemish expressions when hearing about animal parts not usually consumed or eaten and I was pretty surprised to find packs of scalded and cleaned beef tripes, alongside beef tongue in Walmart. Frankly speaking, the beef tripe didn't looked as bloody as a piece of steak and its cleaned and milky white with wooly texture appearance didn't appear disgusting at all. The marketing did a good job on the packaging.

Beef tripe is the stomach part of a cow and in its most original form, it smells horrible and looks terrible. Well, aren't we all saved from all the bloody and gross spectacle of the meat that we consume daily simply by getting our choices of cuts and pieces from the nice packaging of our grocery stores and I shall leave the gross part alone, never explained here. In Southeast Asia, beef tripe is consumed mostly as a delicacy dish as it requires a longer period of cooking and usually involves a lot of spices. Even the ubiquitous Vietnamese Beef Noodles, which contain all parts of the cow requires hours for the soup base to cook and derives its flavor from the meat, including the beef tripe and spices.

I scrubbed the beef tripe with salt prior to washing it under running water. Next, I boiled it in a pot of water for 30 mins to get rid of any impurities and the scrubbing salt that may have lodged in the combs. It was then rinsed again under cold running water and drained in a colander. I cut the whole piece into smaller pieces to fit the cooking pot and also to ensure even cooking. The spices were pan fried first and the beef tripe added second before adding the soy sauces last. I find that these steps are better to bring out the flavor of the spices rather than simply boiling them in the sauces. During the cooking, the tripe was turned and blended with the sauce using a spatula every 25 mins.

The origin of this dish is Cantonese as it uses a great amount of the soy sauce and you can easily order this dish in any Hong Kong eateries, which is usually cooked together with the beef tendon. After 2 hours of cooking, the texture will soften but retaining the chewiness of the tripe and the dried orange peel is very important as it rid the lingering smell of the tripe. I made a vinegared chilli dip to go along with the dish, which complements it very well and if hot fiery chillis is not your choice, try grated ginger with vinegar. I heat up the vinegar in the microwave before pouring it over the chilli as it brings out the spiciness of the chilli.

Ingredients :

3 lbs beef tripe, cleaned with salt and boiled for 30 mins

5 cloves of garlic pulp, leave unsliced

2 large knob ginger, sliced (about 1/2 cup)

5 Star Anise

3/4 cup dried Tangerine peel

2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice powder

2/3 cup soy sauce

2/3 cup dark soy sauce

3 cups water

2 tbsp sugar


1)Heat 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a cooking pot. Pan fry the garlic and ginger for 1 min.

2)Add in the tangerine peel, star anise and 5 spice powder. Stir to mix and let sit for 2 mins.

3)Add in the beef tripe pieces and coat with the spices. Close the lid and let sit for 5 mins.

4)Pour in both types of soy sauce and add water. Turn up the heat to boiling.

5)Add in the sugar and stir to combine. Turn down the heat to medium and let simmer for 2 hours. Check every 25 mins and turn the tripe upside down every time to get an even cooking and coating of the soy sauce.

6)After 2 hours, remove and cut with kitchen sears and taste. If it is chewy but easy to bite into, it is ready. If not, continue to simmer for another 20 mins. Cut into small strips with the kitchen shears.

7)For the vinegared chilli dipping sauce : take 2 or 3 red small chilli pepper and slice into small chunks. Heat 3 tbsp of vinegar and pour over the chillis. Serve with the beef tripe.

Serves: 5 persons


Anonymous said...

YummY!Love tripe!

Reese Darragh said...

I was looking for a tripe recipe like the braised offals my grandma used to get for us kids at the wet market in Pudu. I'll give your recipe a try. Thanks for the recipe, and keep up the great work