October 4, 2009

The edible offal

TRIPE. Not everyone’s favourite food topic. You either love it or hate it.

Tripe comes from the stomach of cows, pigs, sheep and even deer. Beef tripe consists of the first three chambers of the cow’s stomach. There’s the smooth tripe called the ‘rumen’, the honeycomb tripe known as the ‘reticulum’ and the book/leaf tripe called the ‘omasum’. I’ve tried all three kinds and in general, tripe doesn’t have much taste on its own. The various ridges and flaps absorb the sauces and spices really well which then makes the dish so flavourful.

The type of tripe that I have consumed the most, is steamed tripe – done Chinese dim sum style. The book tripe (‘omasum’) is usually used in this dish. The tripe is steamed with ginger, garlic and spring onions. Many people think that strong spices are required to make the tripe more ‘edible’. However, this delicious version is mild, with a clean and crisp flavour. There is a bit of a bite in the tripe which gives the texture of the dish that added level of oomph. (This texture has been a turn-off for many) but the rest of us tripe-lovers do enjoy the extra chew.

Chinese style tripe

Chinese style tripe

Portuguese style tripe is a typical and popular dish in Porto and is aptly named Tripas a Moda do Porto. This version of tripe is cooked with white beans. It is a very hearty dish with generous chunks of tripe (mainly honeycomb and flat tripe) in a tomato based sauce and a sprinkling of dried herbs. The dish is eaten with ‘arroz branco’ (white rice). The tripe is chewy and the combination of the white beans gives the dish a slightly creamy taste.

Tripas a Moda do Porto

Tripas a Moda do Porto

Now come the italians. I love italian food. A humble piece of tripe (again the honeycomb and flat tripe) can be transformed to a rich stew in the form of Trippa alla Romana, found mainly in Rome (but can also be found in many other parts of the country). Trippa alla Romana is cooked with the ‘stew basics’ like celery, carrot and onion as well as wine, tomatoes and roman mint. Tender pieces of tomato-coated tripe topped with the italian touch of grated parmegiano or pecorino. It is eaten on its own just as you would any stew, aided by some sauce mopping action with chunks of bread. Totally divine…

Trippa alla Romano

Trippa alla Romano

If you intend to cook tripe at home, it is highly recommended that the tripe is washed and cleaned meticulously. And prior to cooking in sauce or as a stew, the tripe has to be boiled in salted water for two to three hours to soften and further clean it. It’s a lot of work! Which is why I leave the cooking to the experts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About droolfactor

It's all about my gastronomical journeys, and sometimes an inedible thought or two. One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story This is my personal journey where I devote my attention to eating, cooking, experimenting and taking chances. Anything I come across with a droolfactor worth sharing, it's here. I hope you'll enjoy this journey with me.


Dining Out, Travelling Tummy