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Nose to Tail in Practice


liuzhou
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14 hours ago, liuzhou said:

These are best cooked low and slow.


Boulderdash … pork collar is of course best sliced up, marinated and grilled over live coals: Nackensteaks !

 

img-20140417-wa0004-jpg.708819

 

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19 minutes ago, Duvel said:


Boulderdash … pork collar is of course best sliced up, marinated and grilled over live coals: Nackensteaks !

 

 

You are, of course free, to disagree. I don't have a lot of experience cooking pork collar but almost every source I looked at suggested that it be cooked low and slow. The one that suggested grilling it recommended doing so using indirect heat. None recommended your method.

 

By the way, the word is 'balderdash'.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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6 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

I don't have a lot of experience cooking pork collar but almost every source I looked at suggested that it be cooked low and slow.


See … for me it is exactly the opposite: I do have a lot of experience with pork collar, and while braising a cut with several unaligned muscles plus connective tissue is surely a way to get everything tender, grilling it is where it shines (IMHO). And maybe I read different stuff, as most of my sources suggest grilling  🤗

 

Aaand …

 

10 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

By the way, the word is 'balderdash'.


I know it was a stretch to make the remark more tongue-in-cheek, but I was hoping the reference wouldn’t be to obscure to get …

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4 hours ago, heidih said:

I like the neck bones on the Weber kettle - coals to the side so low and slow. Like this  https://forums.egullet.org/topic/138482-eg-foodblog-heidih-2011-a-slice-of-life-in-the-south-bay-of-los-a/?do=findComment&comment=1812468

 

I love pork neck bones. I throw one or two into chicken stock. What I love even more are smoked pork neck bones. They are a great addition to smoked ham shanks for making a ham stock. I have found two sources for smoked neck bones and they are by no means equal. One source is a under smoked and bland. The other, a small local butcher, has fantastic very smoky and meaty ones. The meat you can pick off is more delicious than the meat from either smoked hocks or shanks. 

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Of course it’s not only mammals we eat. Reptiles, fish, amphibians, insects etc all feature in diets around the world. I’ve briefly mentioned fish livers in passing, but there are other parts that could be said to entail nose-to-tail. (I’m ignoring sharks’ fins, as should everyone given the way they are harvested.) The lips and “tongues” of some species (usually cod in the case of “tongues”). The lips are real but the tongues aren’t – they are actually a muscle at the back of the fish’s neck.

 

But what I want to mention today is a part of the fish which, although it literally has no taste, is highly prized in China and neighbouring countries for its textural qualities and ability to take on flavours from other ingredients. It is mostly just collagen.

 

The internet is littered with articles telling us that fish maw is the dried swim bladder. Wrong. It is simply the swim bladder, dried or not. I guess, the writers of those articles have only ever seen them dried, as that is how they are sold away from China. In Chinese they are 鱼鳔 (yú biào) or 花胶 (huā jiāo), although they are often misnamed as 鱼肚 (yú dǔ) which means ‘fish stomach’.

 

It certainly isn’t a stomach. For anyone who doesn’t know, the swim bladder is what enables bony fish to control their depth, allowing them to sink or float at will. Not all fish have them. Some have alternative flotation methods; others, most noticeably sharks, can only keep moving using muscle power. If they stop, they sink and die.

 

2093926719_Fishmaw.thumb.jpg.dc684d0cb06cd66ab214204187998508.jpg

Fish Maw

 

Fish maws, originally sturgeon but today mostly cod, are used to make isinglass, used to clarify some beers and wines. They are also used to make glue.

 

The yellow croaker (黄鱼 (huáng yú), Larimichthys polyactis) is a desired food species but is being driven into the ‘endangered species’ category in waters off Brazil in the drive to keep Chinese diners demand for their maws satisfied.

 

Quote

Yellow croaker meat sells for 20 reais ($3.55) per kg, he explains. But to his knowledge its maw costs 2,800 reais ($497) per kilogramme.

 

The maws are dried on board and flown to Hong Kong from where some enter mainland China; some legally, some otherwise.

 

Quote

More than 10 years ago, there were maybe only a dozen or so people in the trade, Santos says. Now, he says, there are 400 or 500.

 

Quotes from this informative Al Jazerra article.

 

The high price of these maws has also led to the bladders being faked. Squid, shark's skin or fins are soaked in hydrogen peroxide and sulphur then heated and formed into ‘maws’. Real dried maw should be golden-yellow in colour and not the whitish, yellow tinged of the fakes. The real deal also has an obvious grain to it which is missing in the counterfeit variety and finally they should smell briny. Fake maws have either no scent or smell of the plastic they are sold in!

 

Cheaper maws, less desirable maws are widely available in China’s supermarkets. Like lumpfish roe compared to beluga caviar. My local stores and markets all have maws from freshwater fish mainly carp, especially big-head carp (大头鱼 (dà tóu yú), Hypophthalmichthys nobilis), grass carp (草鱼 (cǎo yú), Ctenopharyngodon idella) and crucian carp (黑鲫 (hēi jì), Carassius carassius).

 

So what do they taste like? Well, if you wrap it in a paper bag, that bag will have more flavour. As with many ingredients in Chinese cuisine, they are valued only for their texture. They are most often employed in soups where they pick up flavours from the other ingredients. Here is a non-soup dish of stir fried vegetables with fish maw and chillies which I ate in Hunan. Everything comes with chillies in Hunan!

 

maw.thumb.jpg.1999dd96ea09b33d345cb424c14e0f3f.jpg

Hunan Fish Maw Stir Fry

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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So far as I know, the next on my list is only eaten in Asia or among the Asian diaspora. No doubt I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong.

 

Tendons of various animals, poultry and animals alike, are eaten In China and several nearby countries including the Philippines, Japan and Vietnam, as well as other SE Asian countries. The favourite though, is beef tendon.

 

Tendon are, of necessity, very tough. Try pulling a beef cow around a field!

 

The tendons tend to be boiled for at least three hours to soften them up enough to be edible, although up to eight hours is often better. Even then they can remain chewy. They are also deep fried. I’m told that in Korea, soesim (쇠심), as they call tendons, are often steamed under pressure to achieve a soft end product.

 

tendon1.jpg.022c05779b225d2709ffcd645048a959.jpg

Beef Tendons

 

I’ve had beef tendons (gân bò) appear in phở in Vietnam.

 

Here in China, 牛筋 (niú jīn), beef tendons are sold pre-cooked in the supermarkets and industrially processed in corner shops. The appear as street food in the form of tendon on a stick - 板筋串 (bǎn jīn chuàn). However, they are also a popular dim sum, usually marinated in garlic to make 蒜爆牛筋 (suàn bào niú jīn).

 

tendon2.thumb.jpg.0c5273efc9d5f8f5fd2f7462e5cbc69b.jpg

Tendon on a Stick?

 

And there is nothing new about vegetarian versions of meat; China has been making vegetarian “tendons” since forever.

 

Images from Meituan Online Shopping Portal, China

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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On 1/22/2023 at 1:40 AM, liuzhou said:

Of course it’s not only mammals we eat. Reptiles, fish, amphibians, insects etc all feature in diets around the world. I’ve briefly mentioned fish livers in passing, but there are other parts that could be said to entail nose-to-tail. (I’m ignoring sharks’ fins, as should everyone given the way they are harvested.) The lips and “tongues” of some species (usually cod in the case of “tongues”). The lips are real but the tongues aren’t – they are actually a muscle at the back of the fish’s neck.

 

But what I want to mention today is a part of the fish which, although it literally has no taste, is highly prized in China and neighbouring countries for its textural qualities and ability to take on flavours from other ingredients. It is mostly just collagen.

 

The internet is littered with articles telling us that fish maw is the dried swim bladder. Wrong. It is simply the swim bladder, dried or not. I guess, the writers of those articles have only ever seen them dried, as that is how they are sold away from China. In Chinese they are 鱼鳔 (yú biào) or 花胶 (huā jiāo), although they are often misnamed as 鱼肚 (yú dǔ) which means ‘fish stomach’.

 

It certainly isn’t a stomach. For anyone who doesn’t know, the swim bladder is what enables bony fish to control their depth, allowing them to sink or float at will. Not all fish have them. Some have alternative flotation methods; others, most noticeably sharks, can only keep moving using muscle power. If they stop, they sink and die.

 

2093926719_Fishmaw.thumb.jpg.dc684d0cb06cd66ab214204187998508.jpg

Fish Maw

 

Fish maws, originally sturgeon but today mostly cod, are used to make isinglass, used to clarify some beers and wines. They are also used to make glue.

 

The yellow croaker (黄鱼 (huáng yú), Larimichthys polyactis) is a desired food species but is being driven into the ‘endangered species’ category in waters off Brazil in the drive to keep Chinese diners demand for their maws satisfied.

 

 

The maws are dried on board and flown to Hong Kong from where some enter mainland China; some legally, some otherwise.

 

 

Quotes from this informative Al Jazerra article.

 

The high price of these maws has also led to the bladders being faked. Squid, shark's skin or fins are soaked in hydrogen peroxide and sulphur then heated and formed into ‘maws’. Real dried maw should be golden-yellow in colour and not the whitish, yellow tinged of the fakes. The real deal also has an obvious grain to it which is missing in the counterfeit variety and finally they should smell briny. Fake maws have either no scent or smell of the plastic they are sold in!

 

Cheaper maws, less desirable maws are widely available in China’s supermarkets. Like lumpfish roe compared to beluga caviar. My local stores and markets all have maws from freshwater fish mainly carp, especially big-head carp (大头鱼 (dà tóu yú), Hypophthalmichthys nobilis), grass carp (草鱼 (cǎo yú), Ctenopharyngodon idella) and crucian carp (黑鲫 (hēi jì), Carassius carassius).

 

So what do they taste like? Well, if you wrap it in a paper bag, that bag will have more flavour. As with many ingredients in Chinese cuisine, they are valued only for their texture. They are most often employed in soups where they pick up flavours from the other ingredients. Here is a non-soup dish of stir fried vegetables with fish maw and chillies which I ate in Hunan. Everything comes with chillies in Hunan!

 

maw.thumb.jpg.1999dd96ea09b33d345cb424c14e0f3f.jpg

Hunan Fish Maw Stir Fry

 

Thanks for this. I've always been curious about "fish maw" in soups in Chinese restaurants. Usually when I ask about it the server will tell me I won't like it. I've never ordered one of these soups because if I don't like it, I won't be able to order something else. Anyway, now I know I'm not missing anything. I don't like those things I have to chew a lot; mainly because I can't, chew a lot, that is. 😁

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On 1/19/2023 at 9:28 AM, liuzhou said:

Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!

 

 

Over the last few years almost all haggis available in English supermarkets has had beef fat, at the very least, added. I don't eat beef, but I've always been able to find some brand with no beef on Burns night, until tonight.

I once had a vegetarian haggis, with some toothy little legumes standing in for the bits of cartilage. Not bad, as these things go. Not even this option available today.

It's a treat I can manage only a couple of times a year, as it's not a family favourite. Now overdue, so I'll keep an eye out.

Do you know, @Duvel

recent blog reminded me it's been way too long since I've been north of the border!

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8 minutes ago, Kerala said:

Over the last few years almost all haggis available in English supermarkets has had beef fat, at the very least, added. I don't eat beef, but I've always been able to find some brand with no beef on Burns night, until tonight.

I once had a vegetarian haggis, with some toothy little legumes standing in for the bits of cartilage. Not bad, as these things go. Not even this option available today.

It's a treat I can manage only a couple of times a year, as it's not a family favourite. Now overdue, so I'll keep an eye out.

Do you know, @Duvel

recent blog reminded me it's been way too long since I've been north of the border!

I'm not planning to eat haggis any time soon, and possibly never. If I find myself in Scotland I would most likely stick to drinking scotch and eating smoked salmon and whatever seafood was handy. It strikes me as very weird though that haggis would have any beef, rather than lamb. And also, as a complete no-nothing, do you eat the stomach that haggis is packed in or just the stuffing? 

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The tendon as noted I have ony exeriemced as a feature in Vietnamese pho and sometimes in cold appetizers in Chinese restaurants Also in my cows foot soup. But yes not common in North America in my experiemce.

 

So all this nose to tail kept bringing uo to me pig bladder as a part of the pig slaughter celebration. Some in North America may recall the Laura Inglls Wilder description of kids delighting in blowing it up like a balloon and last night I watched one of the old Bourdain Cooks Tour in Portugal where they blew it up and played soccer. A French prep https://www.npr.org/2020/07/15/891290856/bill-buford-discusses-his-culinary-journey-in-new-memoir-dirt More local to me - the American South  https://www.al.com/news/mobile/2018/02/post_133.html 

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2 hours ago, heidih said:

The tendon as noted I have ony exeriemced as a feature in Vietnamese pho and sometimes in cold appetizers in Chinese restaurants Also in my cows foot soup. But yes not common in North America in my experiemce.

 

So all this nose to tail kept bringing uo to me pig bladder as a part of the pig slaughter celebration. Some in North America may recall the Laura Inglls Wilder description of kids delighting in blowing it up like a balloon and last night I watched one of the old Bourdain Cooks Tour in Portugal where they blew it up and played soccer. A French prep https://www.npr.org/2020/07/15/891290856/bill-buford-discusses-his-culinary-journey-in-new-memoir-dirt More local to me - the American South  https://www.al.com/news/mobile/2018/02/post_133.html 

A cartoon I saw in a magazine many years ago had two boars hiding in the bushes alongside a road. Farther up the road came a fool in motley, with his cap of bells and a balloon on a stick. One of the boars was saying to the other "Here comes the bastard now...and he's got our Agnes' bladder!"

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"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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12 hours ago, Katie Meadow said:

It strikes me as very weird though that haggis would have any beef, rather than lamb.

 

I'm guessing, but beef fat is cheaper than lamb fat and more plentiful. Not traditional, though.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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So, at last we reach the end, not necessarily of this topic but the end of the animal.

 

The tail end, so to speak.

 

1209921877_pigstail.thumb.jpg.7f26509de4d8b899a881c340604e1ac9.jpg

Pig's Tail

Oxtail is eaten around the world as are the tails of pigs and, less often, sheep and lambs. The first thing to say is that very few oxtails today are the tails of oxen (castrated male bovines used for draught purposes. Mechanization did away with that). They were in the past, but today are usually the tails of beef cattle of either gender. Oxtail soup is a favourite comfort food in my family – either freshly made or canned. I was brought up on the latter.

 

oxtail soup.jpg

Oxtail and Vegetable Soup

 

But a whole oxtail is a large appendage and butchers are often unwilling to cut them and have customers battling over the thick cuts from the ass end and not wanting the parts from further towards the end - the tail of the tail! So they cut it into slices and mix them.

 

A pig tail is much more manageable and, in my view, just as good if not better. But I must say that pig's tails are not always curly. They only curl after the tail is bitten by another pig in hierarchy fights.

 

Again, they need depilating and should be well washed before cooking.

 

Should you lay your hands on some good oxtail, then this web page from The Spruce Eats has some valuable advice and information. As for the pork tails, I am very much in favour of this treatment with a Chinese twist.

 

They can also be deep fried or slow braised.  The interwebs are full of suggestions.

 

How do you use them?

 

Lamb's tails (besides being a cocktail) are highly prized in Western China and Mongolia for their tasty fat. Chunks of sheep / lamb meat and pieces of the animal's tail fat are interspersed on skewers and grilled over charcoal. These skewers can be bought at night markets across China. Visitors to Xi'an, home of the Terracotta Warriors, should partake!

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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One of the best dishes I ever had was in Nashville at a tasting menu. They had SV’d pig’s tail, deboned it, and fried it until the skin was deliciously crispy.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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My overly imaginative mind read "the tail end, so to squeal"

 

I never see whole oxtail, only prepackaged in maybe 2 " pieces. I can unfortunately imagine the squawking grannies if they were tussling tieh the butcher. Those poor guys.

 

I enjoy them stewd/braised in a prep like osso buco, and in a Caribbean style stew.  For the latter I add yuca/cassava root- the textures together please me. When I see a guest looking around for etiquette direction I tell them it is proper to pick up the pieces to suck all the gelatinous bits off.

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I know some people here have sampled head-cheese🇺🇸 or brawn / souse🇬🇧 because it featured a lot in the eG Cook-Off #89: Pâtés and Terrines and the Do your food preferences make you an outcast in your own family or ethnic group? topics. Traditional scrapple🇺🇸 is much the same, but today is often made without the offal.

If you need more information on this delicacy, see here.

 

This is mainly meat from the head of beef or pork animals, but can also contain heart and ears. It does also contain a lot of collagen which makes the jelly the meat is suspended in. Sometimes the feet are added to raise the collagen levels. Versions of this treat are made all over the world. Here in China, it’s not so common but exists as 头肉香肠 (tóu ròu xiāng cháng), always from pork.

 

But what about other food animals?

 

2038367154_malarabbithead.thumb.jpg.5181caba8f1750ba738e454321277768.jpg

Mala Rabbit Head - 麻辣兔头

 

Well, in Sichuan, especially in the capital Chengdu, China the beer food of choice is 麻辣兔头 (má là tù tóu), hot and numbing rabbit head. This is a braised rabbit head with all the key Sichuan flavourings: chilli and Sichuan peppercorn in particular. Something to munch on while drinking or post-session on the way home. There is a recipe for Sichuan mala head here and more information on the culture of rabbit head consumption here.

 

I can find braised rabbit heads here, too (and often do). They can be found on roadside snack purveyor’s carts, the Chinese version of food trucks. However, Sichuan consumes something like 90% of all rabbit heads in China.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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