Monday, September 16, 2013

#Eatsomethingnice 17 (final) - Sup Kambing

proudly a part of #Saysomethingnice
image credit: Veronica Ng

Imagine tender chunks of mutton, bones, shanks or ribs slowly simmered with aromatic herbs and spices then garnished with fried shallots and fresh cilantro, and served piping hot with Roti John or steamed rice.

If for some inexplicable reason you have not tried it, this hearty and flavorful soup - surprisingly earthy, satisfyingly meaty, elegant even - will forever change the way you view soup.

Sup kambing is a very hearty, spicy and aromatic broth traditionally made of goat bones and meat and that is cut into bite-sized chunks and stewed in spices, then served hot. This dish is always associated with the Indian Muslim community in Malaysia.

Kambing is Malay for “goat”. As mentioned earlier, Kambing soup is a rich broth made of goat or mutton stewed for hours and flavored with spices such as coriander, fennel, cumin, star anise and cinnamon. Although mutton is primarily used, chicken and beef are sometimes added to enrich the broth.

The meat is taken off the bone and diced into bite-sized pieces. It is then braised in curry powder before it is cooked. The greenish-yellow hue of the broth comes from the spices used while the meat adds a unique sweetness.

The soup is served piping hot and topped with coriander leaves and deep fried sliced shallots, accompanied by toasted bread on the side. In some parts of Malaysia, it is served with traditional Indian bread or roti Bengali.

It is believed that the younger the goat, the more tender the meat. Therefore although mutton refers to the meat of an older sheep, good sup kambing is usually produced from the meat of a younger goat or sheep. Some sources suggest that this dish evolved from the famed mulligatawny soup imported from British India into Malaya.

As with most Malaysian cuisine, variants abound and examples include the sup internasional (Malay for “international soup”), which is made of beef and mutton while sup ayam (Malay for “chicken soup”) is a lighter version made of chicken stock.

Sup urat is made of beef tendon while sup perut uses ox tripe. Other odd parts of the ox are used to make the soup and can be consumed separately, such as sup lidah (ox tongue), sup ekor (ox tail) and the rather famous sup torpedo (bull’s penis).

Reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities, sup torpedo usually sells for RM15 upwards. Another version of this is known as sup torpedo campur grenade (torpedo soup mixed with grenade) ie. bull’s penis with goat’s testicles. These variations are served the same way as ordinary sup kambing with slices of bread.

Sup tulang (bone soup), traditionally made of the bone marrow of goats, is also often referred to as sup kambing but the addition of tomatoes and different spices give this dish a completely different look and taste.

Finally, Hainanese mutton soup, although also made of mutton, is not related to the Indian Muslim sup kambing as its origins and ingredients are Chinese.

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