If my dad came to dinner today, he would have enjoyed a meal made by his grandson. Tart tamarind flavors merged with sweet guava jelly in a broth of smokey and spicy sauces, seasonings all slathered over beef brisket that cooked till it fell apart when pulled with a fork.
My sons acquired tastes familiar to our family. They now cook flavors that have a tropical twist or Asian flavors. This tamarind and guava bbq beef brisket was a surprise meal made just for us, by my son, Tim when he came home to visit.
My sons who live away from home like to come back on weekends and it is very hard to keep them away from the kitchen. They often like to cook, grill or bake. Father’s day is no exception. In a recent weekend, our son, Tim cooked this superb beef brisket slowly at a low temperature in the oven till the meat was falling off in thin, tender thread-like slivers. The superb sauce of tart tamarind combined with a sweet guava jelly was the perfect contrast to the sweet flavors of the potato waffles, homemade from scratch.
If my dad were around today, it would have been nice to have him over for a long visit and a hearty dinner, just like old times. He would have taken pride in his 2 grandsons. His eyes would have swelled with slight tears, and he would have sat with us at Toby’s college graduation yesterday, beaming proudly. Dad would have said in his loud booming voice “Good job, my Toby-boy”, as the latter walked on stage to receive his BA in Communications & Global Journalism, cum laude.
Dad would have piled up the tender, moist, smokey strips of beef brisket on the crisp potato waffle Tim prepared. As a grandfather, he would have been proud that my sons had learned to cook from me. He would have relished the stories of his grandsons about their jobs, careers, lives and would have sat with them to enjoy a cold beer together. He would have loved to sit back and amused, watch their laughter and banter .
I learned how to cook from my late Mom. But it was my late Dad’s personal preferences for good home cooking that has inspired me and my sons to continue cooking and learning in the kitchen. And if Dad would have been around today, this Tamarind-Guava Flavored Beef Brisket on Waffle Tacos would have made him pat his grandson on the shoulder and say approvingly and heartily “This is good ! Good job, Timmy-boy! Now pour me some San Miguel Beer! ”
An old photo of my late Dad, a few years ago when my sons were small.
On a visit back home, my son Tim cooked this for us. It was beef brisket, cooked till tender in a simmering sauce of tamarind paste combined with sweet guava jelly, spicy and smokey sauces, broth, seasonings. Then he shredded the moist, soft beef brisket into thin tendrils, and piled them high on a crisp potato waffle he made from scratch. Some sides of sour cream, cucumber slices and stuffed tomates put this meal together. My late dad would have loved this meal if he were still around with us.
* Recipe adapted from : Mikes-table.themulligans.org
- Beef brisket - 4 pounds
- ground black pepper - 2 Tablespoons
- salt - 2 Tablespoons
- allspice - 1 Tablespoon
- vegetable oil - 2 to 3 Tablespoons
- garlic - 1 whole head, peeled, chopped
- shallots - 2 whole pieces, chopped
- cayenne pepper - 1 or 2 teaspoons
- red pepper flakes - 1 teaspoon
- paprika - 2 teaspoons
- oregano - 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
- black pepper powder - 1/4 teaspoon
- chicken or beef broth - 2 cups
- salt - a pinch, to taste
- tamarind paste - 1/2 block of a pressed brick (use about 3.5 oz.; found in Asian groceries)
- canned tomatoes - 14 ounces
- molasses - 1 cup
- honey - 1/2 cup
- guava jelly - 1/2 cup (found in major supermarket, ethnic aisle)
- potato flour - 3 cups
- sugar - 1/2 cup
- baking powder - 2 Tablespoons
- kosher salt or sea salt - 1 teaspoon
- cinnamon powder - 1 teaspoon
- allspice powder - 1 teaspoon
- whole milk - 2 cups
- butter - 1/2 cup, softened at room temperature
- whole eggs - 6 large
- sour cream - 1 cup, for serving on the side
- cucumbers - 1 cup, peeled, sliced, seeded, for serving
- fresh parsley - 1/2 cup coarsely chopped, for garnish
- For the Tamaring Guava BBQ sauce, start on the tamarind paste. Boil a 1/2 cup of water, break up the tamarind into smaller chunks and add them to the boiling water. Cover the pot and let it simmer, stirring occasionally. After 20 minutes, press through a ricer and reserve this paste.
- In a food processor, puree the tomatoes and spices together.
- Sautee the garlic and shallots in a shallow pan until lightly browned. When it is cooked to your preference, add it into the food processor and blend it with your tomato and spices.
- In a large bowl, combine your tamarind paste with the tomato mixture from the food processor.
- Once blended, add the molasses, honey, and guava jelly little by little to keep the mixture from becoming too difficult to stir by hand. Use a hand blender or immersion blender if you feel more comfortable with it.
- Season the BBQ sauce further to taste. (TQ: I like mine a little smoky so I added some smoky BBQ spices.)
- Take 1/4 of this BBQ sauce and set it aside in a small container. Store it in your refrigerator until it's ready to be served.
- Finally, blend the chicken or beef broth into the large bowl containing the rest of the BBQ sauce - this will cook with your beef brisket.
- Prepare the beef brisket by cutting it into large chunks that can fit inside your dutch oven.
- Season both sides generously with salt, pepper, & allspice, then fire up your stove on high and place some butter in the dutch oven.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F
- Sear your beef brisket chunks (only turning once) inside the heated dutch oven.
- Pour the BBQ sauce & broth mixture into the dutch oven, making sure your meat is submerged comfortably.
- Cover and cook for 3-4 hours in your oven at 350°F (be sure to turn the pieces over once after 1.5-2 hours have passed.)
- To make Potato Waffles mix the dry ingredients together first: potato flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice
- In a separate bowl, blend the whole milk, melted butter, eggs.
- Combine the wet and dry mixtures and mix well. Try to avoid over-mixing so that the batter doesn't become too runny.
- When your Beef Brisket is 30 minutes from being ready, use any waffle maker to create your waffles.
- Follow instructions indicated on machine. These waffles take about 2 minutes or so to cook in my Calphalon waffle maker. Adjust according to your own waffle machine specifications.
- Once you've made your waffles, and the beef brisket has finished cooking, it's time to put it all together.
- Pull apart your beef brisket with a fork and toss them in the sauce it was cooked in.
- Cut the waffles into fourths, and place them on a serving dish.
- Spoon out some sour cream onto each waffle, spreading it with the spoon.
- Drop a generous portion of pulled beef brisket onto each waffle and garnish with some cucumber or greens of your preference.
Cook’s Comments: This is a great make-ahead meal for brunch, lunch, dinner or whenever. Make the BBQ sauce or the brisket ahead to save time. Cook the waffles the day of the meal and reheat the brisket. Serve this warm. * Optional : Add 1 teaspoon or more of red chili pepper flakes and cayenne pepper to the tamarind-guava sauce if desired.
Ingredient Information: (Reference - Culinaria Southeast Asia by H.F. Fullmann)
- Tamarind – is a fruit, which is long and pod-like. Its tough, dark brown pulp is available dried and pressed in blocks, sold in Asian groceries. For cooking, it is suggested to dissolve the amount needed in a little hot water or warm liquid. The acidic liquid is used for flavoring dishes and desserts to get a tart, sour flavor.
- Guava – is a fruit that originated from central America. There are various varieties around Asia. The fruit is approximately the size of a small baseball and has a green outer layer. If sliced, the inside reveals a red-dark pink flesh with small white seeds. The guava can be eaten raw or added to salads and vegetable dishes. It can also be made into desserts, jam or juice.