Tawbah Tawbah! In a land where we condemn Go Hatya, how do I go about advocating steak '
If Charles Lamb could immortalise roast pork as an accidental discovery by Chinese farmers who licked their chops after their barn house with swine burned down, then America's penchant for napalming peoples, pigs and cows to a frazzle or eating them rare will surely create steak (with a side order of fries) as our future civilisations' commemorative dish on annual doomsday celebrations ' bloody or burnt.
If the Greeks discovered Olive Oil and Musaka, Romans Pasta, the Ottomans Dona Kebabs, the English their breakfasts and fish ' chips, then the Empirical Americans today are looking beyond the pastiche ' an image of Coca Cola, baseball, apple pie, Chevrolet, rock ' roll and their homogenised and globalised hamburger, to leave a lasting impression on world cuisine.
Long after Asian, Arab, Persian, African, Filipino, Indonesian, Taiwanese, French, German and Hawaiian ceiling fans had been wiped clean of America's 20th and 21st century conquistadorial flamboyance and its establishment of democracies is only discussed as a bad joke in the history of mankind, our children will have neither an Acropolis nor the Pyramids nor an Eiffel Tower nor Sistine Chapel nor Taj Mahal to gaze at.
There is a good chance they shall be reduced to kicking radioactive stones barefoot while strolling through nuked wastelands, where the omnipotent Big Mac's Arches once stood. A French sculptor's Statue of Liberty will have drifted with the chilly Labrador and plugged the Panama Canal and its crown shall be a nest for vultures that almost perished and around its feet shall swarm a million cockroaches migrating from fast food addresses to the resplendent Machupichu in the Aztec mountains.
But, as any sojourn to New Market's meat section will reveal, the buyers of mutton at Rs 140 a kg as compared to beef at Rs 60 a kg, have dwindled in the shelter of obscure verses in the Rig Veda that may be interpreted to accept veal.
However, out of respect for minorities, I shall end this piece by giving you a great recipe for Mutton Steak that you can also use for chops and thickly-sliced pasinda. You will, however, need to cajole your butcher into cutting chunks of meat that will serve as steaks, from goats with as little fat on them as possible.
Oriental Anise Steak (originally Greek)
Ingredients: 1 bunch green onions, water, ' cup dry sherry, 1 shoulder steak boneless (1' inches thick), ' cup soy sauce (about 2 pounds), 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons anise seed, hot cooked rice, ' teaspoon ground ginger.
Method: Cut off the roots from the onions and cut them into one-inch pieces. In a skillet, place half the onion pieces. Stir in sherry, soy sauce, sugar, anise seed, ground ginger and ' cup water.
After this, add the steak. Over high heat, heat to boiling and then reduce to low heat and allow the steak to simmer for 1' hours or until fork-tender. Make sure to turn the steak once.
When the steak is done, remove to platter. In a cup, combine ' cup water and cornstarch until blended. Gradually stir the cornstarch mixture into liquid in the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in the remaining onion pieces and finally apply the sauce over the steak. Make sure to cut the final steak into thin slices while serving. Serve with rice.
Braised Steak Caesar-style (not Roman)
Ingredients: ' cup olive or salad oil, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire, 2 garlic cloves (sliced), 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 4 diagonal slices French bread, ' teaspoon dry mustard, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 4 round steaks, chopped parsley for garnish (each cut 1 inch thick), 12-ounce can anchovy fillets, drained (sardines in brine is a stretched substitute).
Method: In skillet over medium heat, in hot oil, brown garlic; discard garlic. Spoon all but one tablespoon oil into a small bowl.
In remaining oil, cook bread until golden on both sides, adding a little more garlic-flavoured oil if needed. Remove bread to low. Cover and simmer steaks for 1' hours or until fork-tender making sure to turn once.
ace one steak on each piece of toast. In a cup, blend flour and ' cup water. Stir into hot liquid in skillet and then cook over medium heat until thickened. Pour some sauce over the steaks while keeping the remainder in a sauceboat. Garnish with parsley and anchovies.
I have ended with a Caesar-style steak simply because, as the centuries go by, an Emperor is often reduced to a garnishing. I am sure there shall come a time when children and scholars will concentrate on Orientalism alone as the ultimate leveller of man's hubris.