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Help Recreate Recipe - Meat Jello Thingys

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I want to recreate a dish that I had in a little place in Taipei.

It was small (1") cubes of mostly-clear jello-looking stuff. Might have had some brown in it too. When placed in the mouth, they instantly - not slowly - dissolved into luscious meaty-tasting liquid. Great with a cold beer. Since I had too much of the latter I don't remember much else about the dish.

I'm assuming this was basically beef broth with a lot of gelatin? How would you go about making this - make a standard beef broth and add powdered gelatin, or collect a lot of beef knuckles, tendons, etc and make the highest-collagen broth you can?
post #2 of 6
It was probably some form of aspic, perhaps the same sort used to make the liquid interior of xiao loong bao. But, since your description is so vague (no criticism intended, you only ate it once after all), I'm afraid I can't offer you a specific recipe.

Aspic is mostly stock, flavorings, and refrigeration. Extra gelatin is usually not needed because of the amount of "natural" gelatinizing proteins from the meat used to make the stock. From the little I know about Chinese cooking, it's quite likely you were eating an "aspic," made without gelatin but from a seasoned, rich stock only.

Making a good aspic, at least in the Euro traditions, involves making a very, very clear stock. Making the stock clear from the get-go (some things you don't do, some things you must), than carifying it (usually with an egg-whte raft) is a colossal PITA. It's the sort of thing cooking schools love to have their students do; and which their students almost never do in real life -- except in nightmares.

Did I mention it's a pain?

As I said, without knowing more, I'm hesitant to offer a specific aspic recipe -- although the recipes aren't particularly difficult in themselves.

Anyway, until and unless you can get some specific help, why not keep googling. If you do "aspic recipes," you'll get thousand of hits. Also, "chinese soup dumplings," "xiao loong bao," and "chinese soup gelatin."

And who knows? Maybe you'll get more help here.

Good luck,
BDL
post #3 of 6
The short answer ;) is yes, make a strong stock. Better flavor that way. Since you say the cubes were "mostly-clear" you might not have to go through the whole clarification process; just keep the heat level down so the stock doesn't boil rapidly, skim frequently as the stock is cooking, and strain the stock through many layers of cheesecloth.

When you make the cubes, pour a layer of the stock into a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate it until solid. Place pieces of meat evenly spaced on top, maybe using a dab of stock as "glue" for each. Gently pour more stock (at room temp) over to cover the cubes. Refrigerate again. When solid, cut into cubes between the pieces of meat.

This may not be how they made them there, but it should work. The main thing is that you make them in two stages; if you try to do them in one, the meat will fall to the bottom and the cubes won't look as impressive.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #4 of 6
Buy a can of Campbells beef consomme and add a little more gelatin. It saves the time of making a true consomme.
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you, all and much! I will do this. Now, how to import the steamy Taiwan summer rain and the Pooping Tiger beer (I made that up, don't recall the brand of beer any better than I recall the dish)?
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Wow, you don't get much consomme from a 9 qt pot of knuckles and necks, do you? I got appx 3 cups of finished consomme. The flavour is pretty intense, so I guess a little will go a long way. But I'm also doing some with Campbells.
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