I don’t know where else to put this, but after watching Charlotte I was inspired to try some Japanese cooking using beef tongue! I originally tried to make the grilled beef tongue from Episode 2 (Nao Nao sold me on it) but trying to skin the tongue made me realize how dull my knives are, and it didn’t turn out well. I’ll be back to try another day…
So I went for the old standby of Japanese cooking, curry from a box! I cooked the grass-fed beef tongue for 24 hours in a sous vide bath, then prepped the rest of the ingredients as usual. There’s a really great farmer’s market near me (there are advantages to living in Middle of Nowhere, PA) so the carrots, onions, and potatoes were all super delicious. I also used the “Hot” Golden Curry roux from the grocery (Apparently this is more authentic in Japan than going from scratch).
Suffice it to say, my roommate and I both had the same reaction as Yuu in Episode 3: “An outpouring of spices! This is how curry should be! The beef tongue melts in your mouth, the best!”
In all honesty, this was the best beef curry I’ve ever made. If you haven’t had beef tongue before, it has an incredibly beef-y flavor and becomes unbelievably tender after a long cooking time. If you can get past the fact that you’re eating a tongue, then this might just become your favorite meat. It’s also just about the cheapest cut you can buy, provided you have a full-service butcher around that actually carries it (again, an advantage of living in tractor country).
I’ll provide my recipe for anyone interested
Sous Vide Beef Tongue Curry
Difficulty Level: Medium
Servings: 8 (Or 6 if you’re hungry)
Cook Time: 24 hours
Special Equipment Required: Sous vide water bath, I use one from Anova. 1 gallon zip lock freezer bag or vacuum sealer.
1 beef tongue (~2 lbs), trimmed and cleaned
2 Tblsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1-2 large onions
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
4 medium carrots
1 lb waxy potatoes (like red or new potatoes)
2 bay leaves
5 cups water
7-8.4 oz prepackaged curry roux
1 Tblsp butter
Soy sauce (to taste)
Pinch of dashi granules
(Optional: Red pickled ginger for garnish)
3 cups uncooked Japanese rice (Makes eight 1 1/2 cup servings of cooked rice)
Step 1: 24 hours before serving. Heat sous vide water bath to 170º F. Rinse the beef tongue, leaving the skin on. Seal in a bag, and place in the water bath for 24 hours. This is a long cook, so ensure that your bag is properly sealed (If using a ziplock, clip the zipper of the bag so it is not submerged in the water) a leak can ruin the cook. Cover the water bath to reduce evaporation, and check the water level once or twice throughout the cooking process.
Step 2: ~1 hour before serving.Thinly slice the onions. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or large (5 qt) heavy bottomed pot. Add onions and salt, and sauté over medium heat until the onions begin to brown. Finely mince garlic and grate ginger, and add to the onions. Sauté for 1-2 more minutes.
Step 3: Peel carrots, and rinse potatoes (leave skin on). Cut the onions and carrots into bite sized pieces. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pot, and cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
Step 4: Add 5 cups of water and 2 bay leaves to the pot. Raise heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Once the mixture has begun bubbling, lower heat to a slow simmer, and allow to cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are just fork tender.
Step 5: While the curry is boiling, prepare rice according to package directions. This is easiest if you have a rice cooker.
Step 6: Also while the curry is boiling. Remove the beef tongue from the hot water bath. Remove the tongue from the bag, adding the liquids in the bag to the simmering curry mixture. Carefully peel the skin off of the tongue and discard (the skin should pull off easily because of the long cooking time). Cutting across the grain, slice the beef tongue into 1/2 inch slices, then cut these slices into bite sized chunks.
Step 7: When the potatoes are fork tender, remove bay leaves and add the beef to the boiling curry. Add the packaged curry roux, and stir until fully combined. Bring mixture back to a boil for 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Add water, if necessary, to achieve the desired consistency for the curry. At this point, taste the curry and adjust flavorings to taste, you may want to add a little butter, soy sauce, and/or dashi granules.
Step 8: To serve, place a small mound of rice on one half of a plate, then ladle a serving of curry on the other half. Optionally garnish with a small amount of red pickled ginger. Enjoy with a spoon!