Thursday, 13 November 2008

Oxtail Tom Yum

In another lifetime I was a groovy young girl-about-town, living in share houses with varying numbers of people and cats in Sydney's inner west. Erskineville - affectionately known as Erko - had a lot going for it. It was 500m from King St, Newtown (arguably the coolest street in Sydney) but a lot cheaper than a Newtown address. It had The Rose, where they not only served the most wonderful salt & pepper calamari as a bar snack but also made some of the best cocktails I have ever had. It had a drycleaner who didn't ask any questions when presented with duvets with cat sick on them. And it had Maggie's Thai.

Maggie's distinguished itself from the dozens of other Thai takeaways in the area, not because it was cheaper or prettier, but because it had the occasional different dish on the menu. On principal I used to order from the specials board. And so it was that one day I tried an oxtail tom yum soup and fell in love. Big chunks of succulent oxtail in a firey but balanced hot and sour broth with the inspired touch - wedges of fresh tomato. I'd suck the meat from the knobbly bones, taking bites of the acid-sweet tomato, pouring spoonfuls of the soup over steamed jasmine rice and work myself into a state of food-induced bliss.

I'm a long way from Maggie's now, and I have never seen oxtail tom yum on another menu, so I have had to develop my own (inauthentic) way of doing it.

First, I braise pieces of oxtail in a Chinese red-braising master stock similar to this one of Kylie Kwong's. It takes about 6 hours to get really tender. I lift the meat out (strain the stock and freeze it and reuse it) and when it is cool enough to handle, I pull the sheets of fat off and strip the meat from the bones. Not strictly necessary but I would rather take a bit of trouble at this point and make it easier to eat later! And the fat puts people off oxtail, when it is rich, deliciously flavoured meat.

The following day I make up a pot of tom yum broth (chicken stock, bought tom yum paste, kaffir lime leaves, bruised lemon grass stalks & some coins of ginger), add the oxtail meat, correct the flavour with fish sauce and lime or lemon juice and then pour it over wedges of fresh tomato and some bean shoots (or bag of precut stirfry vegetables). It is spicy, comforting, meaty and very satisfying as a meal in a bowl.

17 comments:

Sam said...

I love oxtail it's so delicious, I have always made it into casseroles with beer. I would never have thought of preparing it this way it sounds really tasty though!

Nikki said...

This looks so delicious. OMG. I want it.

Darius T. Williams said...

This definitely looks satisfying...like really! I love oxtails anyway - and I bet these were delicious!

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

The Cat's Mother said...

Stephanie Alexander does a red-cooked oxtail which has a bit of orange peel and have a lovely texture.

The Chinese & Vietnamese do these wonderful soups with offal such as beef tendon.

Foodycat said...

Sam - I had never had it Asian-style before Maggie's either. The rich, fatty meat just loves the spices!

Nikki - thanks!

Darius - oxtail is so under-rated!

Mother - I didn't have any orange peel in when I started my red braising master stock, but if I had I would have added it.

alexandra's kitchen said...

you're so smart to reuse the stock. I always think to do that, and then I worry I am breaking some culinary rule. I trust your expertise, however, and will reuse from now on without looking back. I love oxtail stew, and these flavors sound particularly yummy.

Dee said...

I love oxtail but never would have dreamed of having it in tom yum. What a great idea! Bit hard work, but worth it I'd imagine.

Joie de vivre said...

Oh yummy. I made oxtail a few weeks ago and fell in love with it too. Why is it so hard to find?

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Foodycat, I like oxtail soup. I've never made this recipe, but I will try it. Sounds delicious.

MrOrph said...

Sounds like you know how to make a great braise!

This looks delicious!

One must cook oxtail carefully and with love.

Foodycat said...

Ali - I have one batch of stock that I use for oxtail. I might use it for brisket but it is too beefy now to cook anything else in it!

Dee - the good thing is that you forget about all the work it was because the second day is so easy.

Joie - in the UK it wasn't available for a number of years because of Mad Cow Disease. Now it is available but hard to find. No idea why!

Teresa - if you love the punchy Thai flavours, and you like oxtail, you will love this!

Mr Orph - you speak the truth.

Debinhawaii said...

I see a lot of oxtail here and occasionally eat oxtail soup but have never cooked with it. This is inspired to put it with the Tom Yum soup. I may just have to make some!

The Cat's Mother said...

I have a batch of Kylie Kwong's red stock in the freezer and have used it about three times. Once for poaching some white fish fillets that needed something more than panfrying.
I'm a bit worried about what will happen to the flavour of the base stock if I use it for too many different things. Any advice?

Foodycat said...

Deb - you must try it! I think it would work well with brisket too.

Mother - once you have poached fish in it I think you've killed it...

Laurie said...

I've never tried oxtail, but this dish sure looks yummy.

I usually order the specials when I eat out too, even if it's a new restaurant and I haven't tried anything on the menu.

Your exchanges with your mother cracked me up!

The Cat's Mother said...

Laurie - you should try clothes shopping with her...

Foodycat said...

Laurie - I do too. I usually think that I can go back any time and the other stuff will still be there.

Mother - I am very good at clothes shopping!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...