I’d call it a satay because the tripe strips were skewered. But the tripe was fried, not grilled, so the dish cannot really qualify as a satay. The tripe strips were also dipped in batter before frying and that makes the dish very similar to tempura. And since I have no idea whether the tripe came from a male or female animal, I’m calling the dish skewered ox / tripe a la tempura — with a slash. Can be served as an appetizer, a snack or as a main dish.
In culinary lingo, tripe is classified into blanket tripe, honeycomb tripe and book tripe. Although blanket, honeycomb and book should be sufficiently illustrative, if you’re really that unfamiliar with tripe, you can search Google images. This dish was made with blanket tripe, slow cooked for ten hours with sea salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, whole garlic cloves, a whole onion, water and a bit of vinegar. A slow cooker, while convenient, is not a necessity, however. You can use a pressure cooker (two to three hours cooking time) or a regular pot (four to six hours cooking time). I’ve seen a lot of recipe websites describing tripe as rubbery. But take note — properly and sufficiently cooked tripe is never rubbery but, rather, so tender that it almost melts in the mouth.
For best results, cool the tripe and chill overnight in the fridge before cutting into strips to prevent the very tender meat from falling apart.
Skewered ox / beef tripe a la tempura
- Start heating the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. The cooking vessel should be wide enough to accommodate the length of the skewers.
- Cut the tripe into half-inch strips. Thread on bamboo skewers, three to four pieces of tripe per skewer.
- Stir the starch and rice flour with enough iced water to make a batter that is just a bit thinner than pancake batter.
- When the cooking oil starts to smit fine wisps of smoke, dip the skewered tripe in batter and fry in batches. If the temperature of the oil and the thickness of the batter are correct, the frying should take no more than two minutes to lightly brown the coating. Drain each batch of skewered tripe on paper towels as they cook, move on to the next batch, and so on, and so forth.
- Serve the crispy skwered ox/beef tripe a la tempura tripe with sweet chili sauce and snipped cilantro.