Tag Archives: Little India

Tender beef brisket with salsa verde

I’m still on a Le Creuset high and I’ve discovered a butcher at the nearby Tekka Markets in Little India that does all sorts of cuts of meat that I can’t easily find at my local supermarket (read: Tekka Markets = HEAVEN)

I went there in search of beef short ribs and ended up coming home with the ribs (post to come) and a giant slab of beef brisket. Inspired by a combination of a weekend of watching various cooking shows, with Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay both cooking delicious beef brisket, and my memory of the amazing panino bollito from Da Nerbone in Florence, I started making this dish in the morning, for dinner.

The result was ultra-soft meltingly tender beef that I sliced (actually shredded because it was so soft) and served with a fresh salsa verde on a baguette that I quickly dipped into the cooking juices. And I now also have a large pot of delicious beef stock which I will be storing first overnight in the fridge, skimming off the fat in the morning and then pour into ziplock bags that will be stored flat in my freezer.

Ingredients

  1. 2kg beef brisket
  2. 1 glass white wine
  3. 2 large onions cut into chunks
  4. 3 sticks celery, roughly sliced
  5. 2 large carrots, roughly sliced
  6. 1 head garlic
  7. 1 tsp black peppercorns
  8. 2 bay leaves
  9. 5 cloves
  10. sea salt

For the salsa verde

  1. large handful flat parsley leaves
  2. good pinch of sea salt flakes
  3. good glug of extra virgin olive oil
  4. 2-3 shallots, finely diced
  5. 2 tbls red wine vinegar

Method

  1. Season the brisket with a generous amount of salt on both sides and then roll and tie your brisket. You could probably keep it flat, but I think rolling it helps when it needs to be sliced and served
  2. Heat up some oil on medium high in a dutch oven (or any cast iron or heavy-based pan with a lid)
  3. Brown the brisket on all sides – really get some colour on it
  4. Once browned, remove the brisket, and deglaze the pan with a glass of white wine to release all those sticky bits on the bottom of the pan. The wine will quickly evaporate
  5. Reduce the head to medium and add the onions, gently sweating them for a few minutes before adding the carrots and celery and continuing to cook them till they slightly soften
  6. Put the beef back in, nestling it in amongst the vegetables and add the peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves, and then add enough water to just cover the beef
  7. Cover and bring to boil, then reduce the heat so that it’s at gently simmer. Let it slowly blip away, covered for 7 hours. You can also put the whole thing in your oven on 150 C / 300 F (I prefer it on the stove so I can easily peek in). If there is any beef uncovered by the water, turn it over halfway
  8. For the salsa verde: add the diced shallots to the red wine vinegar and set aside
  9. In a mortar and pestle, add the parsley leaves with the salt (make sure you use salt flakes as it helps to create more friction to help break down the parsley leaves) and pound/grind until you end up with bright green mush
  10. Add the olive oil to the parsley/salt mix
  11. Combine the parsley oil with the shallot/vinegar mix
  12. To eat: spread the salsa verde on your bun
  13. Dipping into the juices is optional – I dipped the super crusty end of my baguette
  14. Top with a generous amount of the sliced/shredded beef brisket and tuck in !

A Saturday of French – starting with Cocotte

Cream of cauliflower soup with garlic cream

In the middle of nowhere, on Dixon Road in Little India is Wanderlust – a cute, hip boutique hotel where you can dine at Cocotte. Cocotte is centred around communal dining (dishes can be ordered a la carte or for two, four or six people) where they serve rustic French cuisine in a charming dining area that makes you feel like you have walked into a villa in Provence.

We struggled to choose between some of their signature dishes like fried tripe or poulet roti and their specials and we ended up with a good combination of both.

frisée salad with bacon lardons and poached egg

For me, a cream of cauliflower soup and the fried tripe, and for D a frisée salad and venison. My cauliflower soup was silky and creamy and came with a drizzle of garlic infused cream. Just a hint of garlic in the cream meant that it that didn’t overpower the intense flavour of the cauliflower.

D’s starter was what he called a “healthy fry-up” – bacon lardons and a perfectly poached egg on a bed of crisp frisée lettuce dressed lightly in a vinaigrette.

Signature fried tripe with tomato salsa

My main course – Cocotte’s signature fried tripe – was slow-cooked until tender, and then crumbed and fried so it was super crispy outside. Served with a wedge of lemon and a fresh tomato salsa, I have to say that although I enjoyed it, I think it was mainly because of the crumbed deep-fried goodness. The flavour of the tripe was delicate and not too strong and the paprika in the crumb mixture added some lovely spice to the dish.

Bacon wrapped venison tenderloin with buttered peas

D’s venison tenderloin came wrapped in bacon, seared so that it was almost crispy on the outside but perfectly pink in the middle, with a citrus jus with a garlic purée and buttered peas and peral onions.

Cocotte is a wonderful retreat from the heat and chaos outside in Little India (which has its own appeal) and I’d be really interested to see how the place feels at night. The food is impressive – enough for us to want to return to see what else they have on offer, which is a big thing in Singapore, where there seems to be an abundance of new places opening recently.

Cocotte (ground floor of Wanderlust)
2 Dixon Road
Singapore
Tel: +65 6298 1188

Opening hours (closed Sundays)
Lunch:
Mondays to Saturdays 1200hrs – 1430hrs
Sundays 1200hrs – 1500hrs

Dinner:
Mondays to Thursdays 1830hrs – 2230hrs
Fridays to Saturdays 1830hrs – 2300hrs