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Hunter Beef - A St. Paki's Day Special.

Hunter Beef - A St. Paki's Day Special.
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  • Hunter Beef - A St. Paki's Day Special.

    Post #1 - March 19th, 2012, 6:43 pm
    Post #1 - March 19th, 2012, 6:43 pm Post #1 - March 19th, 2012, 6:43 pm
    Many, many cuisines have some form of a salt-cured meat, and so I was amused to find South Asia as the only other region mentioned, in addition to the UK and Ireland, in Wikipedia's entry on corned beef.

    Hunter Beef, as it's called in Pakistan, is something I grew up with - a lunchmeat that a brown kid could bring to a white school - it looked like corned beef, but had the spicing reminiscent of my home cuisine. I sure wasn't going to bring a bowl of haleem (aka 'goatmeal') to school, so this was a perfectly fine substitution.

    Hunter Beef is prepared very similarly to corned beef, with the main differentiatior being the spice mix. Many Hunter Beefs I've had don't use a particularly fatty brisket - in fact, it's usually rather lean and boiled pretty good so as to resemble a corned beef jerky by the time it's done.

    There's a Shan masala packet, which is one of the few Shan mixes my mom uses, although she recommends using only half of the packet for the same weight of meat on the box recipe (which I think is 1kg). It comes out plenty salty and seasoned.

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    Hunter Beef is usually served with plain ol' squooshie white bread, onions, tomatoes, and mustard or sometimes chutney. I often dress mine with raw onions, cilantro and a fiery green chile chutney, or perhaps a more mild mint chutney. Sometimes I'll toss it with some giardiniera. I particularly like it as a salty breakfast meat to go alongside eggs.

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    You almost never find this on the menu of a restaurant, though I note Ghareeb Nawaz seems to have it in a paratha wrap format, and I came across a random mention of it by Robb Walsh at a Pakistani restaurant in Dallas.

    I will probably try my hand at Hunter Beef with a fatty brisket, as opposed to the traditionally lean, which will drastically improve upon my own mother's version. I think the composition of spices could also be interesting in a smoked context too. Although after a week of eating salty meats, I may need to take the edema down a few notches before I give this a whirl.
  • Post #2 - March 20th, 2012, 2:56 pm
    Post #2 - March 20th, 2012, 2:56 pm Post #2 - March 20th, 2012, 2:56 pm
    Considering the large number of Pakistani friends I have (one of them is even a chef!), I'm utterly shocked that I didn't know this stuff existed! I could've been going to town on Italo-Pakistani Beefs for lunches all these years.

    Do you know of any places that sell it ready-made (by the pound, rather than as a sandwich)? Barring that, any place where I can get the seasoning packet?
  • Post #3 - March 20th, 2012, 3:00 pm
    Post #3 - March 20th, 2012, 3:00 pm Post #3 - March 20th, 2012, 3:00 pm
    I've heard of this stuff, but have never seen it. Now I know what I am doing this weekend.

    Thanks Tatter!!
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #4 - March 20th, 2012, 10:10 pm
    Post #4 - March 20th, 2012, 10:10 pm Post #4 - March 20th, 2012, 10:10 pm
    In Ontario and Québec we have the sweet pickled pork cottage roll which is the exact functional equivalent of corned beef, except for certain sects. :) Although the spicing is slightly different, the taste is quite similar. Getting corned beef in either province is pretty hard, most especially in Québec. When I want corned beef, I just pick it up in a supermarché across the border in Plattsburgh NY. Cheaper, and easy to find.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #5 - March 21st, 2012, 10:58 am
    Post #5 - March 21st, 2012, 10:58 am Post #5 - March 21st, 2012, 10:58 am
    Khaopaat wrote:Do you know of any places that sell it ready-made (by the pound, rather than as a sandwich)? Barring that, any place where I can get the seasoning packet?


    I don't. I think you should be able to find the Shan spice packets though at any market that has a wall of Shan. National brand also has one too, if I recall. Should be easy enough to find on Devon.

    I also noticed that Chopal has it on the menu so you may wanna give both them and Ghareeb Nawaz a call to see if they'll hook you up by the pound.

    Ghareeb Nawaz
    2032 West Devon Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60659
    (773) 761-5300

    Chopal
    2240 West Devon Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60659
    (773) 338-4080
  • Post #6 - March 23rd, 2012, 4:52 pm
    Post #6 - March 23rd, 2012, 4:52 pm Post #6 - March 23rd, 2012, 4:52 pm
    Very interesting topic. I've been unaware of hunter beef even though I must have seen it on the menu at Ghareeb Nawaz. A couple days ago I headed to Devon to see what I could find. I was excited to see hunter lamb advertised on the front of Ghareeb Nawaz but was told they only serve the beef version.

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    Sure enough, it's right in plain view on their wall, dead center of the second row. For $2.99 you get a damn good paratha, a fair serving of meat, some raw onions and a little yogurt.

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    The meat, served in shreds rather than slices, was tasty but not as spicy or salty as I expected. I enjoyed the somewhat dry, pot-roast-like texture. Only as I was nearly finished did I realize how welcome some sort of pickle or chutney would be. A little giardiniera would've gone nicely. Does anyone know what the achar options are at Ghareeb Nawaz?

    At Chopal I was told hunter beef isn't regularly on the menu but they'd be happy to prepare it with a little advance notice. I very well may take them up on their offer one of these days. No luck at Hyderabad House but the guy behind the counter lit up at the mention of hunter beef.

    Tatterdemalion is right that the Shan seasoning mix is easy to find on Devon. I notice the instructions suggest tongue as an alternative. That sounds like it could be really tasty. I was also able to find Ahmed brand (at the oddly-named Par-Birdie Foods).

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    It looks like the seasonings are significantly different than Shan's and it doesn't contain nitrate or nitrite (so the meat will probably be brown, like at Ghareeb Nawaz). One of these years I might actually get around to making my own hunter beef.

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