The sweetness of the mountains and forests from dried meat stored in the kitchen

Once you visit the mountains and forests of Kon Tum, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful unique cuisine of the ethnic people here. Kitchen dried meat can be made from wild animals: deer, wild boar, cows, mice, etc. But according to many “gourmets” the most delicious type, “one bite you will never forget” is meat. Deer and beef, these two types of meat have few tendons, ivory white fat, are softer and sweeter than chicken, and when left in the kitchen, they are sweet.

6.9.1

Beef stored in the kitchen after 2 months is served to guests

I always remember the time I went on a business trip to Dak Glei district during storm No. 9 in early October 2009. The heavy rains caused the river water to rise, the wind roared loudly on the canopy of old forest trees, the sky and earth were blurred. White clouds covered a curtain of rain. Unable to return to the city, I had to stay at a friend’s house in Dak Man commune (Dak Glei). Huddled in the cold of the storm, our friend’s father quickly lit a fire for us to warm up. Suddenly the wooden house flickered in the warm pink light of the fire. Waiting for us to finish resting, he took down a small dark brown package from the kitchen upstairs and introduced it to me: “This is deer meat from the kitchen. Our family likes you so much that we brought it down to eat.” After saying that, he quickly buried it in the hot kitchen ash for about 10 minutes before pulling it out, using a wooden pestle to smash it. At this time, a light fragrance spread out around me, making my stomach that hadn’t eaten anything all day “roar in protest.” . The jar of wine should be brought out to the middle of the floor, next to it is a plate of fragrant dried meat stored in the kitchen, the flavor is so attractive. Putting the piece of meat into your mouth, it feels a bit hard but has a rich, sweet taste. Chewing carefully has a rich, delicious feeling. Sipping another cup of wine made from millet, a warm feeling spreads throughout the whole body. Kitchen dried meat has a very unique aroma, the sweetness of fresh meat blends with the characteristic smoky smell and the spicy, strong flavor of spices.

6.9.2Behind the dry, dark brown appearance is the rich sweetness of the Stovetop Venison

Next to the flickering fire, in the middle of a stormy night, the old father said that Stove meat is a dish that has existed for a long time. Ever since they were born, they have seen the kitchen stove with strings of soot-stained meat. However, because the ingredients for this dish are not readily available (usually when hunting wild animals, the meat is cut to save by a large animal), and the processing time is quite long (at least 2 months), so the meat is stored in the kitchen. Reserved for festivals, New Year or when there are distinguished guests coming to the house, people will bring it out to entertain guests.

The way to prepare meat in the kitchen is also very elaborate, there are two main steps: marinating it with spices and putting it in the kitchen. The raw materials are wild boar meat, rat meat, venison meat, muntjac meat (a small animal similar to a deer, very delicious meat), etc. After killing the wild animal meat and cleaning it, the people will filter out the meat fibers. into pieces with a width of about 7-8 cm, a length of about 15 cm and a thickness of about 2-3 cm. Use a wooden pestle to gradually soften it. Chop the spices lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chili, mix well with salt until thick. In particular, among the indispensable spices, wild pepper (also known as Mac Khen seeds) has a strong aroma and is spicy to the tongue. Marinate the meat for 3 hours to absorb the spices, then tie it in thin strips and hang it up in the kitchen to smoke. Under the heat of fire and soot, the meat will gradually dry out, covered with a dark brown outer layer. Just leave it like that for about 2 months and you can eat it, the meat still has specks of spices on it. Kitchen meat is processed completely naturally, without preservatives but can still be stored for a long time. When taking it down to eat, people grill it briefly on charcoal or bury it in kitchen ash for a while until the meat heats up, then tear it into small pieces. With such a delicious piece of dried meat on the stove, the spices for dipping cannot be “sloppy” and simply made, it will reduce the wonderful deliciousness in front of you. The ideal is salt and pepper from é leaves (a typical spice leaf that often grows along stream banks and around water). The leaves have a slightly pungent taste, mixed with the salty taste of salt, adding a perfect taste to the dried meat on the stove. If it is difficult to find é leaves, you can temporarily use crushed crab leaves. However, the taste is light and not as rich as é leaves.

The long rainy seasons on the plateau, in the houses with brown wooden floors, under the flickering firelight, slowly chewing dried meat on the stove, occasionally taking a sip of wine, what could be more fun?!

Enjoying Kitchen Stove Meat is an exciting experience of unique culinary culture, bringing deep flavors of Kon Tum mountains and forests. Besides the pot of wine, the piece of dried meat on the stove seems to be enriched with a rich, warm sweetness, the rustic stories become sparkling and mysterious like the power in this beautiful northernmost land of the Central Highlands.

Ha Oanh

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