Firecracker Beef

Have you ever had one of those unexpected cravings for hot spicy food?

And if you’re looking for spicy hot food which is out of the ordinary or edgy or unusual and unexpected……you should try Oseng-oseng Mercon or Firecracker Stir-fried Beef…..

Why Firecracker Beef?

Originally from Yogyakarta, Oseng-oseng Mercon has become nationally famous for it is tremendously hot. The dish contains a mixture of beef and chilies cutlets, which surely make your tongue dance.

In Javanesse language, mercon means firecracker and Oseng-oseng means stir-fried with chili peppers, thus, whoever eats this food will feel a highly seasoned and spiced sensation like a firecracker blasting in the mouth. And this is not exaggerating because the main ingredients for making oseng-oseng mercon is red bird-eye-chilies and beef.

Oseng-oseng Mercon recipe was found through an experiment by Bu Narti. During Islamic Feast or Sacrifice, Narti’s family got too much meat. There were the cow meat, skin, feet, and fat. She decided to cook them with lots of red chilies …….and now the dish is popular as Oseng-oseng mercon and it looks like this:  

When bu Narti opened her stall in 1997 at Jalan KHA Dahlan in Yogyakarta, Oseng-oseng mercon was the main menu offered to the customers who likes this hot dish very much. Since then, this dish becomes very popular in that city as well as in other cities.  

In the city where I live (Jakarta), Oseng-oseng Mercon can be found in front of TPI’s office in Pondok Gede area (near Taman Mini), East Jakarta.

My first encounter with Oseng-oseng Mercon happened last friday. One of my colleagues invited me to have lunch at the place where Oseng-oseng Mercon is sold. I was not in the mood to go out but I was so intrigued by this Firecracker Beef. I have heard a lot about this dish but never tried it yet and I love hot food. So I asked my friend to just buy the dish as takeaway for me.

When I arrived home, it was already quite late so I kept the dish in the fridge. On the next day, I remember that I had this Oseng-oseng Mercon in my fridge so I warmed it up and served it with rice just like the way it is served at the food-stall.    

The moment I tasted the Oseng-oseng mercon…..wow I felt like something has exploded in my mouth. Never in my life I’ve ever tasted a dish soooooo explosively hot as Oseng-oseng Mercon. The following picture which I ‘borrow’ from one-ugly-duckling blogspot.com exactly described how I was reacted when first encountered with Oseng-oseng Mercon: 

But …..after tasting this Oseng-oseng Mercon, I simply could not stop eating. I wanted more and more…. and I get addicted to it…..

So the next day (on Sunday), I went to Mr. Google to find the recipe because I wanted to try cooking this dish myself. Yes, I found the recipe.

And this is my version of Firecracker Beef:

Ingredients:

  • 500 gram beef  brisket 

For the beef, I used one of my favorite cuts of beef: brisket, the most flavorful of all the supermarket beef cuts

  • 250 gram  red bird-eye-chilies 

In the original recipe, the proportion of beef Vs chilies is 2:1 which means for each kg of beef we should use 500 gram of chilies. In my recipe I used much less chilies, around 100 gram chilies as seen in this picture:

  • 10 shallots (I used 1 big onion), thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 salam leaves
  • 2 cm galangal
  • 1 tablespoon shaved palm sugar (I used brown sugar)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 500 ml water
  • Vegetable oil

Directions:

  • Cook the beef in water until tender  
  • Drained the meat and cut into cubes, set aside
  • Keep the beef stock around 250 ml 

To prepare the seasoning:

  • Put the shallots, garlic and half of the chilies in wok
  • Pour some water (1/2 cup) into the wok and cook on medium heat until the water is   evaporated
  • Grind the shallots, garlic and chilies in a mortar using pestle into a smooth paste

To cook the dish:

  • Stir fry the spice paste until fragrant
  • Add in the rest of the chilies, salam leaves and galangal, continue to stir fry for a few minutes  
  • Add in the beef cubes, brown sugar and salt
  • Pour in the beef stock
  • Cook through until the liquid is a bit thickened
  • Remove from heat
  • Serve warm with rice

And this is the look of my Firecracker Beef:

Warning:  Flavor May Explode in Your Mouth!

References:

  • Antaranews.com
  • jogjatrip.com
  • Nyamleng.com

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