Food for Thought
Here's some real food for thought: Brains make a great dish even if you're not azombie
It’s been a decade since the zombie apocalypse. World War Z is over but the Undead are still among us. In fact, they have assimilated into society and they even have their own cooking column on CultureMap. How cool is that?
Dear Chef Z:
My husband is constantly bitching about eating cold brains for dinner. I mean, seriously, we’ve been eating this way for a decade and I have a fulltime job at the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and after a long day of making humans stand in line for hours, I just don’t have the energy to come home and prepare a hot meal of human brains. Do you have any suggestions?
Signed: Dead and Loving It But Ready to Kill my Husband (again)
Dear Dead and Loving It:
Sadly, Jaisinghani isn’t one of us Zed Heads, but for a human with an actual pulse, she’s still pretty cool, and a real aficionado of brains, if you can believe that!
Actually humans in many cultures also eat brains, and I don’t mean just cannibals. Of course most humans eat animal brains. In Mexico, seso (beef brain) tacos are quite popular and some folks in Texas eat pig brains. In Africa and China monkey brains are considered a delicacy but it’s in India and Pakistan that goat brains are an easy to make and yummy treat.
Hmmm, those are the countries where the zombie apocalypse outbreaks first began, I wonder…but I digress.
“Growing up it was our weekend treat. My father would go to the local butcher and he would get an entire goat, including the brain, and we would have brain for breakfast. I love it with a fried egg on a small roti or pan seared flatbread.”
“Goat is the red meat of India,” explains Jaisinghani. “Growing up it was our weekend treat. My father would go to the local butcher and he would get an entire goat, including the brain, and we would have brain for breakfast. I love it with a fried egg on a small roti or pan seared flatbread.”
Jaisinghani admits that she’s mostly vegetarian but she just can’t give up her goat brains (who could give up fresh brains!) at least once or twice a week. She likens goat brain masala to spicier scrambled eggs in taste and texture (although I think they are a little squishier than eggs).
For humans, brain is an acquired taste; they either love it or they don’t. Can you imagine not loving brains? Those humans just kill me. Well, not literally, unless they shoot me in the head.
Anyway, she recently showed us how to make this dish and I must say it really is very simple. Takes about two minutes to prepare so even after a long day of dealing with DMV clients you can whip this out in no time.
Jaisinghani says the hardest part is cleaning the brains to get all the connective tissue off but that’s not really a concern for the Walking Dead. Other than that, just make sure the brains are fresh and keep them refrigerated until ready to cook. I’m printing her recipe below.
Of course, for all us Zed Heads you can substitute one human brain for the two goat brains. I’m betting your husband will really love the flavor of brain mixed with the potatoes and onions and aromatic spices. And if he doesn’t you can still just kill him again and use his brain in the recipe.
Jaisinghani's Goat Brain Masala
Goat brains* 2
Clarified butter (or oil) 3 Tbsp
Red onion, fine chopped 1 small
Boiled potato, any kind, fine chopped 1 medium
Garlic, sliced 2 cloves
Chili powder 2 tsp
Turmeric 1 tsp
Cumin, ground 1 tsp
Amchur (dried mango powder) 1 Tbsp
Garam masala 1 tsp
Salt 2 tsp
Water ¼ cup
Garnish: chopped cilantro
1. Under cold running water, clean out the goat brains to remove the sinewy film. Refrigerate until further use.
2. In a small sauté pan, heat up the clarified butter and cook the onions, potatoes and garlic for 3-4 minutes on high heat or until light golden brown.
3. Add the spices and continue cooking for a few more seconds, taking care not to burn the spices.
4. Add water to deglaze the pan, almost immediately after add the goat brains.
5. Cover the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat. Take the cover off – the mixture should be on the dry side.
6. Garnish with chopped cilantro and fresh pomegranate seeds.
*available at any butcher that carries goat meat – they should be bought fresh and used within 24-48 hours. They also freeze well for up to three months.