Tasty Taste Buds


Even though I haven’t lived at home for years, my mouth still waters when I think about the “schtka, schtka, schtka” sound that the pressure cooker made. That meant my mom was making beef tongue. I know, none of my other friends ate it, but by the time I realized it was unusual, it was too late. I was hooked on the flavour and tenderness of it. My mom made it with some soy, a couple of bay leaves, a whole lotta garlic, and she always served it with hot German mustard. When I moved away from home, it was the one dish I missed the most, and I couldn’t make it myself without a pressure cooker. So, a few years back, I decided to remedy the situation (buying my own pressure cooker is cheaper than flying to Edmonton!).

The other night, Mark and I decided to try a variation on my mom’s recipe. I resisted – why mess with a good thing? The process was a little more complicated than my mom’s, but, the result was excellent.

1 beef tongue (2 kg)
3/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 onion, sliced
1/2 tsp peppercorn
2 bay leaves
2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 c cherry wine (we used blackberry port)
1/2 c chopped olives
olive oil
1 c tomato sauce

Soak the tongue in boiling water for 2 minutes.
Peel or cut the whitish skin off
Slice tongue diagonally into small pieces
Put in pressure cooker with soy, vinegar, wine, sugar, onion, peppercorn, bay leaves, olives, and garlic.
Cook for 20 minutes
Fry tongue in oil until dark brown
Add the tongue and tomato sauce to the pot with the marinade and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid off.

The tomato flavour was a good addition. And, it cooked faster because we cut it into smaller pieces rather than leaving it whole.

You can buy beef (and pork) tongue at T&T. I’ve only found it frozen, and sometimes you have to ask for it as it is often in the back. And, you really do need a pressure cooker for this – it can be really chewy and tough if you don’t.

Do you eat tongue? How do you prepare it?


4 Responses to “Tasty Taste Buds”

  1. Posted on June 11th, 2009

    love the picture :-)

  2. Posted on June 11th, 2009

    I love tongue. My mom used to make it, and I’ll have to get the recipe from her. What I can remember is that it was slowly simmered in “lo sui”, a Chinese stewing liquid that included such ingredients as soy sauce, star anise, and Chinese peppercorns. It was cooked whole at low heat for a long time. After it was cooled, it was sliced thinly and served as a cold appetizer. Of course, the easy way of getting this dish is going to a Chinese restaurant. :)

    The other way I like tongue is in tacos. Salsa & Agave Mexican Grill in Yaletown have them. Yummy!

  3. Posted on June 12th, 2009

    My grandma used to make a tongue stew with green olives … mmm delicious.

  4. Posted on June 12th, 2009

    I talked to my mom about this, and discovered that I was wrong. She did not make beef tongue, she made pork tongue. Apparently, beef tongue is a lot more trouble than pork tongue. In Chinese preparations, the tough outer layer of the beef tongue needs to be trimmed off.

    But I did get her recipe for pork tongue. She used to make the lo sui herself, but has now found a much easier alternative. Lee Kum Kee makes a pre-brewed version:

    Trim off the fat from the base of the tongue. Blanche the tongue in boiling water. Remove the tongue from the water and place into a pot with half a bottle of lo sui. Add enough water to cover the tongue. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for about 15 minutes. The tongue is done when you can easily push a skewer through it. Let the tongue cool and the slice.

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