Hello, my fellow eccentric eaters. ❤ This time around, we (awkwardly) attempt to seduce your lovely eyes with a northern Thai specialty, Khao kan jeen (ข้าวกั๊นจิ๊น). This is a fairly humble looking dish, we must admit, but don’t let that fool you. Like most S.E. Asian food, it’s incredibly fragrant and has a lot of flavor to offer your eager mouths..
What it be? Well, it’s much like a rice dumpling or tamale in spirit. Blood, rice, meat, and aromatics wrapped in a pretty little package. This dish (is a tease) tends to be eaten as a type of appetizer or accompaniment to the main event. Like most blood food, it’s quite location oriented, sadly, and not often found outside of Northern Thailand. It can be made at home with minimal effort, however, so why not have a little adventure? And, and..honestly, who doesn’t love steamy, adorable bloody rice presents?! Read More »
Chapssal-tteok / Chaltteok is a chewy Korean treat made from sweet glutinous rice flour, not unlike Japanese mochi. It’s commonly found with steamed and baked confectionery items in most Asian markets, and for good reason.. Chaltteok is textural hedonism, especially this adaption.
Traditionally, it exists in a fairly glutinous state, with only the additional items providing contrast. This version, however, brings a crispy crust to the texture party (think mochi brownies). L.A. rice cake, as it’s commonly referred to, evolved to suit the ingredients readily available outside of Asia in decades past.
Borne out of necessity and immigrant ingenuity, we now have a treat that’s not only unique, but incredibly unfussy. Even with the addition of blood, it only takes a few minutes to come together. The taste of blood is very light in this version, so feel free to swap more blood in place of milk if you’d like to make it more pronounced.
Blood and curry – it doesn’t sound like an obvious union, does it? South East Asia, land of creative, improbable, unapologetic food opportunities, begs to differ. This area of the world is notorious for putting every usable part of a food source, whether it be animal or not, to very good use.. And, trust us, blood itself has many useful attributes when it comes to food preparation.
From a culinary standpoint, using blood in this situation isn’t terribly strange. When exposed to gentle heat and treated with care, it can add wonderful body to a dish. If taken a bit further, it acts as a natural, minimally processed thickening agent. This age old technique, though falling out of fashion, can still be seen the world over, especially in areas still holding fast to culinary culture.
I had half a bottle of pig’s blood (as one does.. ;P) and was pondering what to use it for, when I came across something intriguing – a recipe for a blood thickened sauce with an olde medieval twist. As it so happens, I’m quite enthusiastic about medieval reenactment, and this was the perfect opportunity to put that experience to use.. Who’d have thought stirring gruel and lard in heavy cauldrons (when not stabbing Saxons with a pike) would become practical application? I’ll be cheeky here and call this bloody concoction “Regis’ Special“. (;
An immersion circulator (sous vide) isn’t necessary to prepare this sauce, as the blood isn’t technically raw in the final product. If you’re squeamish, however, feel free to take the added steps for peace of mind. It’s important to note that blood is a finicky substance – going above 140 °F / 60 °C increases the odds of solidification, which is certainly not wanted in a sauce. Beyond that, the blood sauce is fairly easy to make and keeps well frozen in small, ready to use portions.
Dinuguan, affectionately (and surreptitiously..) referred to as “chocolate meat” in its homeland, is a unique pork stew found commonly throughout the Philippines. It’s quite traditional, popular fare amongst locals; many variations exist across the archipelago, yet the dish can be difficult to find outside of the country. Even restaurants catering to large Filipino communities tend to avoid it, likely due to cultural stigma surrounding the main ingredient. Fortunately, this delicious, bloody concoction lends itself well to recreation at home.
Rich, savory, smooth, and with a kick, dinuguan is both comforting and surprisingly easy to prepare. It makes for quite an interesting, impressive meal that can easily be catered to specific tastes. Pork shoulder and offal are often used, both together and in separate versions – they give hearty substance to a remarkable, yet simple gravy made with pig’s blood spiked with the tang and spice of vinegar and chilies. Despite the tongue-in-cheek misnomer, no chocolate was harmed (involved) in the process, yet that might be an interesting addition to the mix.. (think dark chocolate in mole, though that’s a different beast altogether.. 😆)
Like other gastronauts who’ve attempted to learn about this dish, I had quite a bit of difficulty trying to trace its culinary journey. History and accounts of the origins of dinuguan are quite vague, unfortunately. Was it introduced with pork by occupying Spaniards (fritada)? Or is it a much older dish that was simply adapted to new situations and ingredients? One thing is certain, however, dinuguan is a beautiful effort borne out of the necessity that no part of an animal go to waste. Despite being simple, it’s nose-to-tail cooking at its finest – a good jumping off point for those interested in introducing blood into their culinary adventures. Read More »
Today, we’re back with another hearty, filling winter dish : Civet de Boeuf. As the name indicates, this recipe comes from France and is part of a long tradition of blood cooking. A civet, traditionally, is a stew of a game animal thickened with the animal’s blood. The most iconic of which is the “Civet de Lièvre” (jugged hare); but it’s also often prepared with roe deer and boar. (Civet de Chevreuil ou de Sanglier). Here, however, we’re going to use braising beef and pig’s blood. Ideally, you’d use beef blood for beef, but I’ve not been able to source any at this time. Read More »
It’s been a while! After my old traditional butcher shop closed down, and the farm I used to order from stopped delivering downtown, I had to find a new provider for pig’s blood. And let me tell you, summertime was not the best time for it! High temperatures make it difficult to transport blood in the proper conditions. After a lot of fruitless inquiries, and with the coming of Autumn, I finally found that I was looking for. I met a great couple at the local farmer’s market who raise free range, organic forest pigs, and they kindly listened to my request. Here I am, a week later, with my order of 6 liters of fresh, free range pig’s blood.
What is soondae? The word looks an awful lot like sundae (it’s even commonly transliterated this way), but I can guarantee that most people would be fairly shocked to receive a plate full of plump sausages filled with blood and pig’s snout, rather than the sweet, frozen treat of their dreams. Soondae is a traditional Korean blood sausage similar to black pudding, though the starchy filler used is glutinous (sweet) rice. It’s a true sausage in that it is stuffed inside a casing much like morcilla or boudin noir. The texture is amazing, folks. It’s light, chewy, bouncy – quite reminiscent of mochi due to the sticky rice and pork snouts. It’s something you can become addicted to far too easily..
Today, we bring you The Red Cellar version of a traditional Filipino street food : Betamax. Playfully named after, from what we’ve gathered, the popular Sony video cassette format of similar iconic appearance. Betamax is a highly sought-after snack food, traditionally made from solid pieces of marinated, skewered and roasted chicken (or duck) blood.
The blood curd itself tends to be pretty mild in flavour and has a texture resembling that of firm tofu. What makes it decidedly shine, however, is the beautiful combinations of seasonings and spices that are first used to marinate and then garnish the final product. It’s a simple, highly nutritive snack, rich in various compounds, vitamins, and minerals, such as iron and protein. Betamax can be enjoyed as an appetiser or, as they’re fond of in the Philippines, a tasty late night bite after a night of heavy drinking.