Tuesday, July 12, 2011

biscuits and gravy 2

We interrupt your (okay, my) (all right, our) reading of A Dance With Dragons for ...

Again, Biscuits & Gravy

Chile-mint oxtail rendang with rau ram and watermelon; biscuit; watermelon-cardamom limeade

Biscuit: same as before. And I'm still behind on comments, but - the last commenter is right, frozen biscuits are a good substitute, better than the canister biscuits.

Oxtail: Braise oxtail in coconut milk and chile-mint hot sauce (sriracha and fresh mint works as a sub, I'm sure) until oxtail comes easily off the bone. Remove the bone and cook everything down until the liquid cooks out enough that the oxtail is now frying in the fat - stir constantly once this happens!

Add curry leaves and a little more chile-mint hot sauce if necessary.

There is a whole class of food which is simply "meat braised before the liquid is allowed to cook off so that the meat is cooking in the fat." Carnitas use pork. Rendang adds coconut milk to the braising liquid so that some of the fat it's cooking in is the coconut fat. Vaca frita more or less comes out of the same concept, too.

It's a great technique - you get the rich tenderness of braising, and some of the crispness of frying. You concentrate flavors. Doing it with oxtail, I mean, it puts everything on elevens.

Curry leaves aren't always easy to find; skip em.

Rau ram is Vietnamese mint or Vietnamese coriander. It's related to sorrel, not mint - it has a little sourness, without acidity as such (you can make a lemonade of sorts out of sorrel, I don't believe you could with rau ram), and a pungency, and it's just ... there's nothing else that really tastes like it, and it's awfully compelling stuff.

Watermelon-cardamom limeade: dissolve sugar (1 cup for a full pitcher? depends on your pitcher, really) in warm water. Squeeze fresh limes into it. Squeeze a few handfuls of watermelon into it, leaving the watermelon pulp in the pitcher. Add a couple cardamom pods. Let sit overnight in the fridge and then remove the pods if you see them. But leave the pulp when you serve it.

I like limeade like this to be very tart, especially with the cardamom. The overall effect is ... complex, but something that goes very well with something as rich as oxtail rendang. It just cuts right through that richness, and the cardamom, watermelon, and lime - all flavors with floral components - go with the rau ram.


Chile-mint oxtail rendang, biscuit, watermelon, rau ram; watermelon-cardamom limeade

Watermelon chunks on biscuit, oxtail on watermelon chunks, rau ram on oxtail.

Did I just top cold watermelon with hot meat? Yes - in savory contexts, especially with meat, watermelon tastes a lot like tomato. Didn't I blow your mind this time, didn't I do it baby.

All in all, pretty fucking good.

1 comment:

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