Ox tongue with five tastes

Ox tongue with five tastes

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

This is a study in taste and temperature. The aim is to try the ox tongue slices cold and hot, adding one or more elements of the seasoning ingredients that represent the five basic tastes to create something you can enjoy eating. (And, if not, then to learn about tempering taste by proportions.)

For the sour taste


Quantity Ingredient
3 lemons, juiced and zested
70g salt

For the bitter taste

Quantity Ingredient
50g green bitter melon, no pith
20g celery

For the salty taste

Quantity Ingredient
50g toasted cashew nuts
10g salt
10g salt flakes

For the hot taste

Quantity Ingredient
50g fresh green peppercorns
10g bird’s eye chillies, deseeded and chopped
10g unripe bird’s eye chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 tablespoon peanut oil

For the sweet taste

Quantity Ingredient
50g meringue, (see note)
2 teaspoons caster sugar

For the hot oil

Quantity Ingredient
1 litre vegetable oil
2cm piece of ginger, smashed
3 stems green garlic, crushed
3 spring onions, bruised
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
400g poached ox tongue, thinly sliced


  1. Make the sour taste:
  2. Blanch the zest in boiling water and refresh under cold running water. Repeat this twice more to get rid of the bitter tasting oil. Place the lemon juice in a pan and heat to just below simmering point. Dissolve the salt in the juice. Mix in the drained, dried zest. Pour the near-saturated solution onto a non-reactive baking tray and place in a barely warm oven for about 6 hours to evaporate the solution. Grind the lemon salt to a fine powder.
  3. Make the bitter taste:
  4. Dice the bitter melon, finely chop the celery and toss together. Dry-fry in a small pan until bright green.
  5. Make the salty taste:
  6. Grate the cashew nuts with a fine microplane. Grind the salt to a powder. Mix the two together.
  7. Make the hot taste:
  8. Grind the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle. Add the two lots of chillies separately, pounding each one in thoroughly before adding the next. When you have a fine paste, mix with the oil.
  9. Make the sweet taste:
  10. Grind the meringue to a powder. Grind the sugar to a powder. Mix the two together.
  11. Prepare the oil:
  12. Pour the oil into a saucepan and heat to 70°C. Throw in the aromats and keep at 70°C to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the oil.
  13. Assemble the dish:
  14. At the table, serve the oil at 70°C; sitting it on a portable burner such as a fondue burner is ideal. To start, taste a slice of cold tongue so you are familiar with its flavours. Dip a slice into the oil to heat. Season it with one or more of the five tastes and try it. Proceed in this way, trying different tastes or combinations until you discover what you like. When you tire of this exercise just go ahead and enjoy the flavours rather than thinking too much about it.

To make meringue

  • Beat 6 egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 350 g of caster sugar and continue beating until stiffŠ peaks form. Fold in 100 g of walnut meal. Pipe 1.5 cm discs onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake at 110°C for 30 minutes, then at 100°C for about 1 hour.
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