Sunday, May 29, 2011

Beef Tendon

With less than 1 month to go before I travel to Asia, things have been a bit hectic. Cleaning up things, packing stuffs and getting ready for the end of another school year for the kids takes up alot of my 24 hours in a day. Along with that comes allergies and alternative weather of hot and cool can take a chunk of energy and concentration.

Recently I have received a few comments on my posts. As understood, a blog is exclusive to the writer of the blog herself and whether to publish a comment or not, reply or ignore is simply at the blogger's free will. Why do some people think they simply can barge in and takes up other people's blog or web space just for the sake of advertising their own interests? Is this the new trend of cyber bullying? Inserting one's own links disguised in the name of "comments" in the hope of free advertising through other people's blogs is certainly something I don't tolerate. To me, this is outright taking advantage of other people's hardwork blogging and if the intention to advertise is made clear outright to the blogger in accordance to the advertising on blogs etiquette with appropriate terms agreed, perhaps things will just turn out good. Thank goodness Blogger provides me with the Comment Moderation button or else I would have to deal with all these nonsense all the time. What a waste of time! If you don't like it, set up your own blog and put all your comments there. And yes, no matter how many attempts of this sort can be, I adopt that Ignorance is Bliss!

Got some Beef Tendon from the Asian Market yesterday. Usually I eat this part of the cow only in Vietnamese Pho dishes and also sometimes on cold appetizer dishes served at Chinese weddings, together with Jelly fish or Pig's ears. The tendon comes in white tubes, color and texture resembling the raw beef stomach on the outside with a tough gelatinous centre. It is this center part that contains high content of collagen which is believed by the Chinese people to supply protein that strengthens and builds one's bones and joints. Before cooking, they look long and huge but after being in the pot, they shrink alot and the outer layers curl up and tightens. The tendon needs to be cooked for more than 3 hours to soften it for eating or else it can really break your tooth gnawing it, not mentioning a choking hazard as its cooked down gelatinous content makes this a very slippery piece of food in your mouth which just slides down easily down your palate.

I preboiled the tendon for 20 mins to shrink it and clean it thoroughly before simmering it in a combination of soy sauce, 5 spice powder, star anise and dried tangerine peel. A pressure cooker will come in handy for this dish but I cooked it on the stove top for more than 3 hours, with addition of extra water every hour. The amount of dark soya sauce seems alot in the beginning but after 3 hours with additional water, it diluted to the right saltiness. So, the amount has taken into account of this fact and to reduce the soya sauce quantity may not yield a very robust and flavorful dish. I served this dish cold and eaten together with rice.


1 to 1.5lb Beef Tendon
5 large Pips of Garlic
4 small Red shallot
1 small knob of ginger (the size of your thumb)
5 slices of Dried Tangerine Peel
2 Star Anise
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice Powder
1/2 cup Dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese Cooking Wine
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Chopped Scallion for Garnish

1. Peel and slice the shallot, garlic and ginger thinly. Leave aside with the tangerine peel and star anise.
2. Wash the tendon under cold running water. Boil 7 to 8 cups of water in a stock pot large enough to hold the tendon. Once the water is boiling, immerse the tendon (as a whole) into the stock pot and let it simmer for 20 mins on medium heat.
3. Remove from the heat, discard all the water and spoon out the tendon. Rinse the pot and put it back on the stove top. Heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil and drop in the shallot, ginger, garlic and star anise. Fry for a minute. Add in the tendon pieces, 5 spice Powder, cooking wine and stir to coat and mix. Pour in the Dark soy , sugar, salt and drop in the tangerine peel. Cover with lid and simmer for about 10 mins.
4. Add in 3 cups of water and stir the tendon around. Cover with lid and Let it simmer for 1 hour on medium heat.
5. Add in another 3 cups of water and stir. Using a kitchen shear, snip the tendon all over. It will still be too hard to cut the tendon. Snipping randomly ensures the flavor seeps into every part of the tendon. Cover with lid and let it simmer for another 1 hour on medium heat.
6. Add in another 3 cups of water and stir. Snip again with kitchen shears, this time should be softer but still hard to cut. Cover with lid and let it simmer for another 1 hour, making it a total of 3 hours.
7. Try to cut the tendon to see if the texture has softened enough. If there is no resistance when cutting it, cut one piece to try out. The texture should be slightly crunchy but very chewy and tender at the same time. If a more tender texture is desired, add 1 cup of water and continue to cook for another 20 to 30 mins.
8. Lift up the tendon and let it cool down. Slice thinly. Can be eaten hot or refrigerated to serve as cold dish.

Serves: 4 to 5 person as side dish

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