Hangin’ tough…

How do you all get your meat to be nice and tender, I wonder?

I used to have a slow cooker, two in fact, and be it beef, lamb…or even pork leg/trotters/knuckles or wild boar, the meat would turn out really tender, just the way I would love it. Well, the first one, I think, was a gift I got for my wedding. One fine day, I got impatient and moved the crock pot to the gas stove and turned on the heat. There was a loud crack…and my slow cooker went straight to Slow Cooker Heaven, just like that. Then I bought another one real cheap – RM60 something only with the coupons collected at a departmental store here. It was very good too…but not for chicken unless you are into chicken floss, all separated from the bones. For other types of tougher meat, it was absolutely great. Eventually, my missus spotted a hairline crack at the base, not that it was leaking or anything so I got rid of it. Now I am slow cooker-less…and my birthday and Christmas are both in December, still a long way to go. Hehehehehe!!!!

Now I would have to resort to one of the more traditional ways and those would include using papaya leaves…

Papaya leaf

I would pound them well…


…and rub the meat with it and leave it to stand…

Leave to stand

…for an hour or so. After that, rinse the meat well to get rid of all the bits of leaf but I guess if there are traces of any left, it is perfectly all right. After all, I have heard of the wonders of papaya leaves in the treatment of dengue fever patients.

Of course, for those of you living in the big cities, it may hard for you to get hold of any of those leaves but they do sell this in bottles, liquid form with a picture of a papaya on the label. That is good too! Once I marinated the meat in the morning for a barbecue at my house and left it for the whole day till evening. The meat turned out like tofu…or one of those vegetarian meat, so soft that it hardly had the meat texture anymore.

Another way would be to make sure that you cut the meat across the grain…

Across the grain

…so that it would come apart easily when chewed or maybe, you would like to try my mum’s way which would be to put a porcelain spoon in the stew or soup. She said that according to the old folks, the hardness in the meat would “fight” with that of the spoon and of course, the meat would lose and be rendered all soft and tender.

Anyway, I bought some beef that day as I wanted to try this…

Beef casserole mix

…that my cousin in Australia sent me sometime ago.

I got all the other ingredients ready – the onions, carrots and potatoes…

Onions carrots potatoes

…and since we can’t get fresh button mushrooms easily here, I just used the canned ones…


They sure made it sound so easy…


…on the label and I would say it was!

Incidentally, I had no intention of cooking it in a casserole in the oven – my plan at that point in time was to cook it as a stew so what I did was to put the meat in a pot and let it cook on very low heat till all the juices had come out…

Cook on low heat

…and then, I mixed the contents of the packet with water…

Mix plus water

…and poured that in. I did not have any tomato paste in the house so I added this…

Barbecue sauce

…instead – barbecue sauce. After all, there is tomato paste in the ingredients along with all the other things.

Once I had brought it back to boil, I added all the aforementioned ingredients, brought it back to boil again and let it simmer on low heat for an hour or so.

It turned out really nice…

Beef stew

…except that initially, when I tasted it, I thought it was very strong on those herbs and spices that one would find in western cuisine and some people may not be all too fond of those but when all the flavours from all the ingredients added had come out, it tasted really great and we sure did enjoy it a lot.

The beef was all right, not tough, quite tender…and if you’re wondering which method I used, I actually used all three – except that I do not have a porcelain spoon in the house so I threw in a stainless steel teaspoon instead. Hehehehehe!!!!

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

24 thoughts on “Hangin’ tough…”

  1. that’s a lot of great patience and detailing. I would have thrown everything in the pot and boil. thats all πŸ˜›

    maybe should not used the BBQ sauce, heaty~!

    Heaty? You mean spicy? No, it isn’t. It’s very nice, actually…a little sweet like oyster sauce but nicer, with a smoked barbecue fragrance. We can just boil meat and slice and use this sauce as a dip. Thrown everything in? That’s what I did…except for the cooking the meat first – I usually do that with wild boar to cook the soup. That way, you can get the sweetness and the fragrance of the meat – otherwise, the soup will not be nice. I guess for beef stews, it would not make much of a difference.

    But if you mean heaty heaty, beef is heaty…and so is lamb. Venison is the worst, dunno about the sauce being heaty unless it has a high ginger content.

  2. Lol! The slow cooker on the gas stove! Your stew looks really good,I may give that a try too now that winter is here. What do you serve with it? Rice or mash?

    Rice. Nice with baguette toasts too. Wouldn’t want mash…already got potatoes in the stew – unless I follow law (instructions on the packet), add carrots only.

  3. The slow cooker is the best! Other than that, marinating it overnight or for several hours would be another way.

    Yes, my missus does that, marinate and keep in the fridge until it is time to cook. Our hot and humid weather here, not great for keeping uncooked stuff in the open, especially overnight. I could not do it as it was a last-minute decision to cook it.

  4. I never knew of the papaya leaves as tenderiser. Interesting tip.

    The beef stew sure look good. Some times I never follow the instructions. Use whatever I cook find in my kitchen. Lol. I have 2 slow cookers. Cannot do without them!

    The 1st one without lid as I accidentally drop it. China made. Very good. 2nd one is through redemption in MLM store. Been using it since then.

    TWO!!! And I don’t even have one! Tsk! Tsk! LOL!!! I have TWO lids, did not throw that away. Can pass you one if it is of the right size. Hehehehehe!!! Same here, never follow instructions, sure disaster one.

    1. Maybe I should send you mine. Haha. I would not need it since it is without lid. I see if it is still operational. Will sms you later. πŸ˜‰

      No lah, so much trouble. When my girl comes home for the school holidays, we will go jalan-jalan, window-shop, see any nice one that I can get or not. The first one I had was good, Takamashi or whatever…the 2nd one, Cornell…was too big and too powerful, could not use to cook chicken.

  5. My sister loves her slow cooker. She’s puts everything inside before she heads out for the day, and she returns home to the delicious smell of dinner already prepared. πŸ™‚

    Yes, we loved it too…especially when both my missus and I were working! Nothing like coming home to a freshly-cooked piping hot dinner…or dump everything in in the evening and leave it on overnight – we would have a nice packed lunch the next morning to bring to work.

  6. Wah, I didn’t know papaya leaves can be used as tenderizer.. I only know corn starch.. Put corn starch in any meat, and they’ll turn out soft and tender.. Your beef stew looks so so delicious, lots of chunky meat in there, yummzzz..

    I know they do that at the Chinese restaurants, and then they deep fry the meat in oil first to seal in the juices and sweetness. Wouldn’t want to do that, all that extra oil.

  7. Guess the porcelain spoon and stainless steel teaspoon not much difference…but remember last time when I bake, I only do baking will purposely use those stated tools, if normal I just simply put with normal spoon lo.

    I haven’t the slightest idea – maybe it is just one of those old wives’ tales? But mum knows best!

  8. Adding ginger juice to meat tenderizes them.

    Marinating meat for a long time does that and I guess that includes ginger too – but will the taste linger onto the meat? I am not all that fond of ginger…depending on what dish, that is, of course.

  9. I usually do this with pressure cooker, everything done in less than 30 mins. I’m lazy πŸ˜€

    Not into pressure cookers – my mum had one and on more than one occasion, we had whatever she was cooking stuck to the ceiling of the house. I would prefer a slow cooker. Those days, made in England brand, no joke one – these days, with all the ciplak brands, I have been reading horror stories of them exploding!!! No, thank you!

  10. If you didn’t blog about it, i didn’t know that papaya leaves can be used…

    So now you know, but city people, want to look for papaya leaves, also near impossible.

  11. have heard of making meat tender using papaya leaves but never tried before. Tarak Papaya leaves ah. LOL

    You don’t have any in your garden? My immediate neighbours have THREE and sometimes, they give me the fruits – very fruitful, so many. As for the leaves, I can just reach over the fence and cabut. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  12. I use my slow cooker a lot, especially in winter. Makes nice comfort food.

    Makes the meat in soups or stews so delightfully nice and tender. I have to get another one soon.

  13. Regarding the porcelain spoon, I was told it had to be a broken one.

    Broken? Oh dear! I have this thing about chipped or broken crockery – would not hesitate to throw it away.

  14. Thanks for the great tip of papaya leaves. I love to use slow cooker to cook pig trotters/knuckles & sometimes porridge too. Regarding the spoon, I have never heard of though. That bowl of beef looks heavenly.

    Yes, it was good. Gotta go and get a slow cooker soon, been a while since I threw the last one away.

  15. This is the first time I’ve heard of papaya leaf as meat tenderizer. Will try that soon! Thanks for the tips!

    The liquid papaya juice sold at the shops seemed to work better or maybe I did not tenderise it long enough.

  16. Slow cooker is not my style, I can’t wait for hours for my food to be ready….

    That’s the exact reason why I broke the first one I had. Older now, mellowed with age…and wiser, hopefully.

  17. “Slow Cooker Heaven” … that phrase made me smile after a tiring day, so thanks! πŸ˜€

    Ummmm…funny, eh? I guess I am…sometimes. πŸ˜€

  18. Ahh… I see you’re using your mortar and pestle. It’s one of my favorite kitchen tools. It’s simple and effective.

    When it comes to getting meat tender, I typically use my 8 qt. Presto pressure cooker. It gets the toughest meat incredibly tender, and cooks the meat very fast. I can pressure cook four pounds of frozen chicken breasts in twenty minutes and the meat is super tender. I turned the BF on to pressure cookers. He purchased one and now raves about them too. I think the last thing he cooked in his was a pork roast.

    Yes, everyone loves their pressure cookers…but I think I’d stick to slow cookers – as they say, slow and steady wins the race. πŸ˜€

    1. I used a slow cooker for years. These days, I still use them but now only for making homemade soup.

      Your post title makes me think of the song Hangin’ Tough by New Kids on the Block.

      Yes, NKTB. That’s their song all right, though I would not say they’re my favourite boy band. πŸ˜€

  19. Seriously..did you really put in the stainless steel spoon… ? Coming to think of it, yes, I remember my mom putting in a porcelain spoon to boil red bean soup…

    Mum knows best – always listen to mum.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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