Mention the words ‘affal’ or ‘tripe and trotters’ and the world seems instantly divided – people either love it or shudder at the thought. Affal or offal, as it is more commonly known throughout the world, encompasses the internal organs and entrails of an animal. For hundreds of years, right up until post World War II in fact, affal was considered a staple food source by many; but as the depression lifted and Europe became more prosperous, minds and mouths turned to more ‘real’ meat. Today in Britain for example, the only affal commonly still found on menus is the kidney in steak and kidney pie or liver - cooked in a rich gravy and served with onion and mashed potato, or served as chicken liver pate.
For many, however, it remains a delicacy firmly wrapped up in cultural significance. In Scotland it’s the haggis – considered a savoury pudding, it combines sheep’s heart, liver and lungs with onion and a variety of spices, encased in either an animal’s stomach or artificial casing. Haggis was immortalised in Address to a Haggis by the poet, Robert Burns in 1787; and so it is traditionally served in January to commemorate his birthday. In France foie gras - a rich pate made from the liver of a duck or goose - remains a luxury (if at times controversial) food product. In parts of Germany it’s blood tongue or Zungenwurst, a head cheese or brawn (meat jelly made from the head of the animal) combined with blood - most commonly pig’s blood with pieces of pickled beef tongue included. And in Rome you’ll be spoiled for choice, because Checchino dal 1887 is a restaurant famous for its no-holds barred affal specialities; offering everything from calf’s head, and sautéed veal inners to stewed tripe, and sweetbreads.
Here in South Africa one of the most common affal dishes is tripe and trotters – or ‘pens and pootjies’. Tripe typically consists of the first three chambers of the animal’s stomach: the rumen, the reticulum and the theomasum. It, along with the trotters, can be cooked in a variety of ways, from mildly curried to the more aromatic version which includes coconut cream. N1 specialise in Ox affal which is prepared according to the highest and strictest Halaal standards. The product range includes tripe (which has been cleaned), the trotters, tail, tongue (plain and pickled), liver (whole and sliced) and the kidneys. For more on this speciality meat as well as other high-quality meat and frozen vegetable products, call N1 today.