“Really, stuffing and eating animal lungs,” you flinch? Allow me to address your moral and culinary qualms.
Forget eating, most Americans haven’t even seen or heard of a dish made from lung meat. In the United States, it is uncommon to consume the lungs of cattle and many of its internal organs (offal). In fact, the only way you can get hold of lungs is by buying an entire animal although I didn’t find any federal regulations against selling lung meat.
Lungs, often referred to as “lights”, are savored in many other parts of world. Scottish haggis or lungmos (mashed lung) are savory pudding made of lungs, beuschel is traditional lung stew in Vienna, Zuppa di Polmone is Italian lung soup, and also popular in Indonesia and Malaysia is paru, which is fried lung coated with turmeric and other spices.
In Nepal, goat lungs are filled with flour batter, steamed or boiled, and then pan-fried into a perfect fusion of light bread and meat. This traditional Newah dish called Swonphuka or Swon (pronounced show-fuka) is still very popular in Kathmandu, where it is served as appetizer with local moonshine.
This very unique way of preparing lungs in Nepal and Tibet does not have a counterpart in any other culinary culture of the world (or I haven’t found one yet). It is hard to describe light and airy texture that culminates from a flour-batter filling, steaming, and frying of tender cattle lungs. I would say it is meatier version of a French toast. But such a comparison falls short of describing how the flour batter fills up the tiny holes (alveoli) of the lungs and results in a unique texture and taste that is unparalleled to anything I have tasted yet.
1 pair of lungs of lamb or goat
2 cups flour
4 cups+ water
1/2 teaspoon salt
turmeric, cumin, chili powder, timur or Szechuan pepper (all optional)
Oil for pan frying
Batter. Mix all the ingredients until it reaches the consistency of a cream. Put it aside.
Lungs. Use fresh lungs that are not punctured. You can check integrity of lung by blowing air into it. You can use plastic tip/guard on used with hookah to blow air through lung pipe (trachea) or use a manual air pump. Traditional way of blowing air into lung is done by holding trachea at one end of loose fist (so that the fist acts as a small pipe) and blowing the air by mouth from other end that is not exposed to the meat. Make sure not to blow excessive air or blow too hard to avoid puncturing.
Cleaning the lungs. Clean lungs by pouring and removing couple of cups of water through its trachea. Repeat twice and turn the lung upside down to make sure all the remaining water and blood gets out. Finish up cleaning by pouring a few tablespoonful of oil into each lung.
Filling the lungs. Pour the batter into the lungs though the trachea. Start by pouring the batter by cup. Later use ziplock bag filled with batter to press down the batter.
As the lungs become full, they get shiny and smooth in texture and become lighter-colored. Seal trachea by folding and tying with a string. Make sure the batter does not flow out of trachea.
Prepping the lungs. Cook the lungs by boiling.
Once cooked, let them cool down, then slice each lung into half inch thick pieces and a couple of inches wide. You can store these for future. You can even individually freeze them and use them later.
Cooking the lungs. Sprinkle choice of your choice of seasoning and salt. Heat oil in a pan. Pan-fry until edges are slightly crispy.
For the life of the animal whose life has been taken to become your food, it is more respectful to utilize all of its body parts and strive to bring it up to the level of a prime rib.
During commercial meat production, lungs like many other unwanted offal are used to manufacture other food products and animal feed. Chances are you have already ingested cattle lungs indirectly in its processed (and inferior) form.
So, why would you throw out perfectly delicious part of an animal?
Hearty thanks to the cousin who bought the entire goat and the uncle who showed us how to prepare delicious lungs.
Posted in: Cooking | Tags: beuschel, Indonesia paru, Lung as food, lungmos (mashed lung), Lungs as food, Malaysia paru, Nepal Fried Lungs, Nepal Lung Recipe, Newar Lung, Newari Lungs Recipe, Scottish haggis, Swon, Swonphuka, Zuppa di Polmone