This is one of my most favourite things to eat. Forget the fancy gourmet things I’ve been lucky enough to taste, cook and serve. If I was on death row my last meal would be mogodu with ledombolo and a glass of ice cold gemmer.
What is mogodu? In isiXhosa is referred to as “ulusu” and it has other names in other African languages. In plain English? Tripe. Yes, tripe. I prefer sheep and lamb tripe but ox tripe works too although it isn’t as soft and as finely textured as the other two. Before you frown and shake your head at the idea of tripe I’d have you know that tripe is eaten on every continent and by nearly every culture. Yes. Just like how goat meat is consumed by 70% of the world yet people seem to look down on it, the same thing happens with tripe. If you haven’t had it as a dish on its own then I would happily bet you that you’ve eaten it without realising it in your sausages, processed meat and burgers.
Offal, sweet meats and cheap cuts of meat tend to need time and a little TLC to become transformed into delicacies. (certain sweetmeats don’t need extended cooking though, so make sure you understand the differences in how to cook different parts). Tripe is one of those meats that need a lot of time to become awesome dishes.
Growing up in South Africa you grow accustomed to animals being slaughtered for rituals and gatherings. So to us see internal organs of animals isn’t anything hectic (I must admit though, there are plenty squeamish folk too!). I grew up being told by my female relatives that tripe shouldn’t be cleaned too thoroughly. There are certain supermarkets that attempted to sell cleaned and bleached tripe a few years ago and I’ve noticed it is no longer available, people must have complained. There definitely is a difference in taste. Having said that, I personally hate cleaning tripe! I once got excited and bought 5kg of it…then realised that I actually had to clean it! I had to bribe a friend to come clean it for me. I’m glad to have found a butchery near me who sells clean tripe that isn’t overly clean.
Ok, enough talking. Let me get to the actual recipe. You’ll see this is a recipe for a relatively plain tripe. I’m a firm believer in starting with the simple stuff before moving into complex recipes. Once you’ve mastered this one then you can start playing around and adding tomato puree, curry powders, masala, potatoes and vegetables and a whole lot of other things. You can cook tripe in a pressure cooker, it will cook faster and make less smells (which in turn attract flies) but I prefer the old school way of slow cooking it in a normal pot over low heat. Please search my blog for my beef stock recipe. If you don’t have beef stock then plain water will do.
1kg cleaned sheep tripe
3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon salt
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 pieces Star Anise
4 All Spice berries
4 pods of Cardamom
Ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 sprig thyme, chopped
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
1. Rinse and ensure the tripe is clean and then cut it (using a sharp pair of kitchen scissors) into pieces. I prefer my pieces to be relatively large, about the size of a spoon.
2. Place all the ingredients into a pot. If the beef stock doesn’t cover the tripe completely, then add a little more until it’s covered.
3. Bring the entire mixture to the boil, once boiling rapidly reduce the heat to low and allow the pot to simmer with a half open lid (or a lid with an air vent) for about 2 hours. Test the tripe, if it isn’t soft enough then let it simmer for a bit longer.
4. Remove the lid completely and increase the heat a little to reduce the liquid in the pot to a thick sauce. Only season with salt towards the end of the cooking process.
That’s it. Done.