Numbing ox tongue

Numbing ox tongue

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

This is intended as a non-scientific illustration of how temperature might affect perception of spicy heat. My feeling is that, when tasted cold, spicy heat seems to numb rather than burn the tongue.

For the ox tongue


Quantity Ingredient
4cm piece of ginger, crushed with the side of a knife
6 garlic cloves, crushed
4 spring onions, bruised
3 french shallots, quartered
5 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water for 2 hours
2 pieces angelica root, sliced
5cm piece of cassia bark
1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 green cardamom pods
1 teaspoon dill seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 mand arin, dried peel removed
150g rock sugar
60ml dark soy sauce
1 ox tongue, usually 1.5–2 kg

For the dressing

Quantity Ingredient
30g candied walnuts, chopped or crushed roughly, (see note)
1 celery stalk, finely diced
50g pickled mustard greens or tianjin preserved vegetable
50ml chilli oil, use some of the chilli sediment if desired
lemon juice or rice vinegar, to taste
200g silken tofu, drained and cut into thin slices, to serve


  1. Poach the ox tongue:
  2. Into a large pot put all the ingredients except the rock sugar, soy sauce and tongue. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes until the aromats are cooked. Meanwhile, dissolve the rock sugar in some of the hot liquid. Add the soy sauce, which will increase the colour of the stock. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Rinse the tongue under cold running water. Place in a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, skimming off the scum which floats to the surface. Turn down to simmering point. Simmer for 30 minutes or until scum no longer rises to the surface. Place the poaching liquid and the sugar and soy sauce mixture in a flameproof casserole. Add a good amount of salt so there’s an exchange of savouriness between the meat and the stock. Add the tongue and bring to a simmer. Semi-cover and transfer to the oven for about 3 hours until the tongue is tender but not falling apart. Take from the oven and cool until the tongue is cold enough to handle. Strain the poaching liquid and put aside. Peel the skin from the tongue and keep it in the poaching liquid until cooled and ready for use.
  4. Make the dressing:
  5. Mix the walnuts, celery and mustard greens together. Toss with the chilli oil and add some lemon juice or rice vinegar, if you like. If a looser dressing is desired, add some of the ox tongue poaching stock. Keep in the refrigerator until required.
  6. Assemble the dish:
  7. Thinly slice 300 g of the cold ox tongue. Arrange on a serving plate with the tofu and spoon the dressing on top.

To candy walnuts

  • To candy walnuts, drop 100 g of walnut halves into boiling water. Wait for the water to come back to the boil, then scoop out the walnuts, drain and place in a large bowl. Scatter 30 g of icing (confectioner’s) sugar over the walnuts and toss them around to coat well. Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 180°C and carefully deep-fry the walnuts in batches until light golden. Spread over generously oiled foil, separated so they don’t clump together. Quickly make a spice mix from 1 teaspoon each of freshly ground sichuan pepper, black pepper and salt and sprinkle over the walnuts. This will make more candied walnuts than you’ll need for the recipe but they can be eaten as a snack.
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again