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The idea for this post started with an excess of tripe. When you commit to stewing something for three hours, you don't want to stew just a little bit, do you? You want to stew as much stomach as you can fit (ha, you thought I was going to say, as much stomach as you can stomach, didn't you?) into your pot. Which, in turn, commits you to eating a great deal of tripe.
Half of the tripe went towards making tripe salad, my new favorite thing to bring to picnics. Half went into the wok, and the results were so scrumptious that I thought it was only fair to tell you about it.
After all these years, it never ceases to amaze me how different cooking preparations so drastically affect the texture and taste of something. You can take a slab of tripe, simmer it, and then do two very different things to it.
Dressed in a vinagrette, the slices of tripe are soft and chewy. Stir-fry those same slices, and the results are drastically different.
To start, brown the slices of tripe in oil so that the edges become crisp and look lacey. You could stop there, I suppose. In fact not all of those browned crispy slices of tripe made it to stage two of the stir-fry dish, because they were eaten as is, as a little pre-dinner snack.
For the rest of the tripe, stage two: add chili bean paste and a touch of soy sauce, along with ginger, scallions, garlic. The slices will soak up the flavors and seasonings, all the while retaining their crispy edges. Serve with rice.
It is really very good. I wouldn't have you stew a stomach for a whole three hours for nothing.
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