Southern Tagalog Style Goto (Ox Jowl or Cheek Soup)

Aphrodisiac Food??that?s the theme of the Kulinarya Cooking Club challenge for the love month of February. It?s pretty sensible right? The sweetly and hotly (pun intended) celebrated Valentine?s Day or Heart?s Day is the most important occasion of the month ?? especially for lovers ?? or would-be lovers. A day allocated and designated particularly for couples who want to celebrate their love, pledge and vow (as the case maybe) with one another ??? to strengthen the relation ??? to re-ignite the passion ??? to rekindle the affection ??? to solidify the union.

If sumo wrestlers have their ?chanko-nabe? meals to develop the strength for a husky and fiercely fight, we in Kulinarya tried hard to come out with special food for lovers to be ready for a lovely and cuddly fight. That while some political activists are giving free condoms in the streets of Manila (Philippines) for safety reasons, foodie members of Kulinarya around the world are busy concocting food formulas for sultry reasons ??? for enhancing the desire ??? for stimulating ones drive ??? through meals which are not only intended to be attractive and tasty ??? but also provocative and kinky. :-)

This blog is not actually new to such a recipe. For more than a year, my most popular and thus most visited post is Soup Number 5. Could you believe that? It is regarded as the ultimate aphrodisiac Filipino food. Myth or truth is something not important for those who love the dish. Be it simply for the taste or secretly for the potent love potion, Soup No. 5 continues to draw patron. Be it for the comforting effect or the stimulating upshot, more and more Filipinos are eating the famed soup. As a follow up for that dish and as my entrée to the Kulinarya challenge, I am glad to feature the Southern Tagalog Style Goto, an invigorating soup made from ox jowl or cheek called ?mascara ng baka?.

I would like to mention here though that the usual or authentic ?goto? in the Southern Tagalog region is actually made from jowl as well as all of the ox entrails, I decided to use only ?mascara? and some meat with tendons so that other members of the family, who are not particularly keen on eating internal organs of a bovine, will have the chance to enjoy the dish.

So for the purist ?goto? enthusiasts, pardon me for this is just a modified or sanitized version intended to cater not only for male dinners but also for ladies and kids. I, too, am of course very biased to the ?goto? bearing the authentic entrails ingredients and probably will make a post of that in the future.

For this preparation, I and my cousin purchased about 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lbs) of ox jowl and skin and about ¾ kilograms of beef specially added to assure us of a really beefy and tasty soup.

In Soup No. 5 it is the bull?s gonad (testicles and phallus) that is thought to be the source of aphrodisiac properties. While this is never scientifically proven, Soup No. 5 eaters swear that they experience the magical effect every after eating the dish. The same is true with ?goto? eaters. Psychological or otherwise, I don?t really know. But what I am sure is that there are ingredients in both dishes that are somehow causing the stimulating effects??? and my guess is as follows:

Yes, for me, the culprits are garlic, ginger, onions and oyster sauce.

Used for many centuries to cure almost everything from the common cold to more serious ailments, the ?heat? in garlic is said to also increase sexual desires. Ginger is a known stimulant to the circulatory system and proper circulation of the blood is a privy to strong sexual drive. Onions were prescribed by doctors in the early 16th century to help with infertility in women and to erections for men. In India, some sects do not eat onion due to its alleged aphrodisiac properties.

Oysters have long been thought to be an aphrodisiac food. The prized food item is full of zinc and therefore there might be scientific truth to the oyster myth. As we know, zinc controls progesterone levels, which have a positive effect on the libido. Since zinc deficiency can cause impotence in men, any food rich in zinc can be considered as an aphrodisiac and oysters happen to be fully loaded with the said mineral.

The other ingredients as prepared are: 2 pcs thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced, 1 head garlic, peeled and crushed, 4 pcs onions, peeled and chopped, 2 pcs fresh garlic leaves (or leeks), sliced, ¾ cup oyster sauce, 1 tsp freshly ground pepper, salt to taste and lots of beef broth.

Meticulously clean and rinse the meat. Scrape the skin with the knife to remove all dirt and small hair. Arrange the meat in a thick large casserole. Cover with enough water and let it boil under high heat. When the liquid is already boiling and scum is appearing bubbly on the surface, carefully scoop out all the scum that will float until the liquid is clear. This is important to be able to get rid of the foul odor and attain a fragrant and tasty broth.

Adjust the heat to the lowest possible while maintaining the liquid still gurgling. Simmer slowly until the meat is just tender. It will take around more than one and half hours, sometimes even longer.

Add the ginger, garlic, onion, oyster sauce, salt and ground pepper. Continue simmering on low heat until the meat is very tender. Add beef broth when the liquid level gets lower than the meat level, one cup at a time. Adjust the seasonings including the oyster sauce according to your liking. Cook for several minutes more until the broth is somewhat thick.

Serve in wide bowls in batches. Take out some of the meat from the broth. Chopped or cut to small pieces and put into the bowl. Pour enough broth to cover. Sprinkle some chopped garlic leaves or leeks or spring onions on top. Spike with chopped bird?s eye chili as necessary. Serve with slices of ?calamansi? or lemon. While this is a truly comforting dish, it is bound to make you a little restless in the end. :-)

Just like what I said in Soup No. 5 post, empty your bowls but be cautious of the fabled sexually stimulating effect. But then it?s still February so feel free to spread love. Enjoy the dish and everything beyond. c?,)



Yummy sarap....

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