I needed inspiration for today’s post so I asked my facebook page!
Eager to help, Helen Fraser says “Tripe – gives me the heebeegeebees thinking about it but would love to see what you can do with it”
It turns out that sourcing tripe is a mission, even in Glasgow, where they deep fry babies heads and eat rats, so it was after telephoning several butchers and supermarkets that I was able to finally source some for the grand bargain of £1.65! The butcher tells me that it has already been bleached and cooked so minimal preparation is required. Yes, you read that right: it has been bleached. I have the heebeegeebees Helen. The butcher also mumbles something like “never….stuff…stick…..meat”. Happy happy joy joy.
On returning to my professional chef’s kitchen I decide to inspect the tripe: it is very heavy but that’s not the most peculiar thing about it; tripe’s texture appears to be exactly like those bristly mats you get in the shower to stop you falling over. A safety conscious food stuff! Who knew!
But what does it taste like?
It is not chewy, quite tender in fact, and you would think the flavour would be overpowering, but it’s not; it has a quite subtle yet acquired taste which I can’t identify immediately; it takes me a lot of ‘goes’ before I can tell you that it tastes like the smell of Plasticine, but this isn’t something I can say I enjoy.
But what to do with it?
I’m going to have to mask that strange Plasticine flavour and after some thought figure I should pretend I am making something like deep fried squid. I start by battering strips of tripe with a flour, ceyenne pepper and soda water mix:
and I make a piquant Thai dipping sauce with chilli, lime, fish sauce, sugar, corriander:
Next I transfer to a hot wok the battered tripe:
…and cook for around 6 minutes on a high heat (lots of hot oil plus wok is dangerous so take care) till the batter is golden brown, texture like sun, lays me down with my mind she runs… Sorry. And serve with the dipping sauce:
But how’s it taste?
It’s edible and I eat most of what’s on the plate. The texture has softened and is now very similar to squid. I can just taste the tripe but it isn’t overpowering; if I got this in a restaurant and you told me it was squid I would believe you but would probably say that it tasted a bit ‘off’. But don’t get me wrong, this is very edible.
Overall then, a tentative pass. I would say don’t be scared of tripe, it’s nowhere near as bad as you think and if treated in the right way eg strong punchy ethnic flavours, deep fried, will work.
And, ahem, ONE final thing. I’ve entered the Observer food monthly awards and think it would be awesome if you went and voted for me here (bit of a pain to vote cos you might have to sign in first, but if you do vote I’ll send you a free tin of cat food).
I’m also on twitter