Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Everything I've read tells me that whale meat is fine-textured, lean, and exceedingly good to eat. Especially the tongue, and premium cuts near the tail (oniku).
Understandably, the Japanese and the Norwegians also think so.
As well as several tribes in the Pacific Northwest.

The Dutch and the Australians object strongly to the concept of eating whale, but as neither of their countries are known for fine dining, their opinions must be discounted.
I've delved into Netherlandish culinaria elsewhere here (just type "Dutch food" into the search field on this blog if you're interested), and the Australians are notorious Vegemite aficionados.
They even add that ghastly spread to their spaghetti sandwiches.
'Nuff said.

Normally, a fine cut of whale can be cooked by slicing it into thin steaks, sautéing it briefly in butter or olive oil, then serving it with a jus.
You could also marinate it Greek style (lemon juice, olive oil, thyme), and grill it festively on the backyard barbecue. Tzatziki, olives, and sliced tomatoes from your own vines would be perfect, and, as it is a red meat, a nice glass of Burgundy.

Mink whale, by the way, is NOT endangered. Not by any rational standard.
And it is high time we stop relying on the Texans and Argentinians for our animal protein. Or the New Zealanders, for sheep slaughtered after Hobbit perversions.


Nice thick tournedos of hval meat, perhaps wrapped in bacon, or served with a creamy caper-mustard sauce. And some potatoes and a salad on the side. Or even with French fries and a warmed saucière of Béarnaise.
While whale barbecued Mexican-style has its own appeal, and various tasty stir-fries also suggest themselves, I am extremely keen to try it in curry.


Two pounds Whale.
Four onions.
One thumblength ginger.
Four or five garlic cloves.
One TBS. ground coriander.
One TBS. cayenne.
Half Tsp. turmeric.
Half Tsp. mustard seeds (black).
Half Tsp. cumin seeds (jeerakam).
Half Tsp. fennel seeds (perinjeerakam).
Half Tsp. cinnamon powder.
Half Tsp. salt.
Four or five green cardamom pods, three or four whole cloves, a dozen whole peppercorns, and a bay leaf or two.
Two TBS. tamarind juice. Half a dozen Roma tomatoes, or two beefsteak tomatoes.
Four or five fresh green chilies, finely minced.

Cut the whale meat into chunks, dry-roast the spices as appropriate. Grind two of the onions with the ginger, garlic, and all spices plus the salt, EXCEPT the bay leaves, cardamon pods, and mustard seeds, to a paste. Stir the tamarind water into this, and rub it all over the meat. Let the whale sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so to absorb flavours and tenderize.
Chop the tomatoes.

In a roomy pan or chetty fry the mustard seeds briefly in ghee or oil, add the remaining onion, cardamom pods, and the minced green chili, and sauté till nicely golden. Add the chopped tomatoes, cook till soft.
Then add the meat and its marinating paste, and cook till the moisture has dissipated and the oil separated. This, by the way, is the key to developing a good flavour, hence the need for a roomy pan or chetty - you do not want to crowd the chunks of meat.

Add water to cover, plus bay leaves, and simmer on low for about an hour. You may substitute coconut milk for some of the water. Stir it occasionally, and when the meat seems tender enough, remove from the heat. You may fish out the cardamom pods and bay leaves it this point.

Garnish liberally with cilantro, and serve with chapatis or steamed rice, as well as fresh chilies and lime wedges on the side.

Good for a holiday party of six to eight people, with other lovely side dishes.

If you cannot get whale, you can substitute an equivalent amount of goat.

But it won't be as festive an occasion.

Shubha bhojana!

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