Cooking on a tight budget means you have to be a bit creative with your dishes such as using cuts of meat that most people overlook like awesome cow arse steaks, pigs head terrines, chicken wings/feet etc and now ladies and gentlemen it’s the turn of the humble and glorious beef tendon.
My wonderful butchers at Derek Jones in Melton Mowbray are used to me wanting bits of animals that usually go into the trim bins for mince/brawn etc and so last week when I asked them to keep aside the beef tendons they couldn’t help but laugh as they normally go into the bin for the dogs. A visit to my butchers just wouldn’t be the same without them taking the piss in the way good butchers do 🙂 . Seriously, use your local butcher, they will look after you, share their knowledge (and jokes) and your kitchen will be all the better for it.
Asian countries are much less squeamish about which parts of animals are deemed “acceptable” to eat, and as a result enjoy so many more delicious morsels than the average UK shopper. Tendons are forthcoming in their generosity, when slowly braised in stock they not only soften to meltingly sticky, deeply flavoured delights but they release the most wonderful flavour and gelatine into the stock that makes it silky and with a depth of flavour that just can’t be beat.
Some of the ingredients you might not recognise, I pick everything up from my local Asian supermarket in Leicester which I love. Whenever I’m there I also buy 1 new ingredient that I have no idea what it is or how to use it and just experiment when I get home. The remaining braising liquid will set overnight, you can cut it into pieces and freeze separately to add to your Chinese cooking to give a wonderful flavour boost or we made a pho the following day.
Raw tendons on left and in the stock on right
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- 4 beef tendons
- 3 star anise
- 2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
- 1 tablespoon dried garlic slivers
- 1 heaped tablespoon hot fermented broadbean paste
- 4 tablespoons Datu Puti (hot spiced chilli garlic vinegar from the Philippines)
- 5 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- water to cover
- white rice
- 1 jasmine tea bag
- french beans
- drizzle toasted sesame oil
- crispy fried shallots
- black sesame seeds
- pork floss
- wedge of lime
- Bring a pot of water to the boil and blanch the tendons for 2 minutes. Remove tendons, discard the water, clean the pot then return tendons to pot with the rest of the ingredients and top up with enough water to cover everything by about 1 cm.
- Cover and simmer for about 3-4 hours or until the tendons have reached a consistency you are happy with (some Chinese restaurants will cook them for 7 hours). Taste and add a bit more sugar/soy if needed.
- Make your rice using the absorption method adding the intact teabag to the rice pot to infuse the rice with its jasmine scent.
- Cook the beans for just a minute or so in boiling water ( I like mine just barely cooked)
- To serve simply slice the tendons into bite sized pieces and place on top of your rice, spoon over some of the braising liquid. Drizzle a bit of sesame oil over the beans, sprinkle with the sesame and crispy shallots and then top with some pork floss. Squeeze a bit of lime juice over the tendon.