What does rolled herring, bull penis and pickles all have in common? Somewhere in the world, they're considered hangover cures.
We’ve all lived through late nights followed by rough mornings, and it’s a wonder that in this day and age, there isn’t a cure for the common hangover.
There are various quick-fix hangover prevention concoctions that some swear by, like Mercy drinks and Alcohol X pills, which contain vitamin B1. But the tried and true American way to end a hangover is a greasy plate of yolky, cheesy salvation. Say what you will about morning-after meals, but they do manage to get the job done.
In other parts of the world, tried-and-true hangover cures are just as common as, but vastly different from, our American version. In Mexico, parts of Central America and Eastern Europe, the weary swear by stews made from tripe (the lining of the cow’s stomach) such as menudo or guatitas.
Germans like raw pickled herring wrapped around a pickle or onion for their katerfrühstück (hangover breakfast), and the Polish often drink sour pickle or sauerkraut juice. The sour saltiness of pickled umoboshi plums are all the rage in Japan. In Mongolia, sheep eyeballs pickled in tomato juice and kumis (fermented mare’s milk) are considered saving graces while, in Russia, drinkers sooth the stomach with a mildly alcoholic kvass, made by soaking rye bread with sugar and yeast until it ferments.
In the Phillippines, balut, a duck embryo that is poached alive and eaten out of the shell (beak and all!), is considered a delicacy, but also known to soothe hangovers. And, while mainland Italians are known to sip espresso the day after partying, old school Sicilians say that eating a dried bull’s penis is the secret to relief.
As summer winds down, enjoy beach parties, vacations with drinks in hand -- but you’ll be needing a remedy or two of your own. Try making these three tasty, unique (and significantly less courageous) antidotes when you’ve had just a little too much fun this summer.
Peruvian Leche de tigre
Leche de tigre, the spicy byproduct of ceviche, is imbibed as an elixir by Peruvians after a long night out. Chef Julio-Cesar Florez of Llama’s Peruvian Creole in Austin, recalls walking through cevicherias in Peru with his father, and peering through the display case at the various selections. “Some places have the toasted corn with the fish and shrimp. They make it almost like a cold soup, but it’s still called leche de tigre. And it’s modernized now-- in some places they do different colored layers. It’s a big deal.” As for its healing properties he says, “The protein definitely helps because the salt is pulling protein out of the fish and, with it, comes other things like zinc.” Though he is the first to admit, “I’m usually too hungover to make ceviche.”
Yield: 3 cups
- ¾ cups lime juice
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup fish stock
- 1 aji limo pepper
- 3.5 ounces fish scrap
- 1 celery stalk
- ½ oz red onion, diced small
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp ginger, minced
- salt to taste
- Optional: Corn kernels, cancha, aji limo rings, and a lime wheel (for garnish)
Put everything in blender and puree until very smooth, then pass through a double mesh strainer. Serve in chilled glasses and garnish with diced red onion, cooked choclo kernels (large-kernel corn), cancha (toasted corn), thin-sliced aji limo pepper rings, and a lime wheel.
Indonesian Kaya Toast
Chef Susan Feniger makes this Indonesian specialty at STREET, her Hollywood-based restaurant serving global street food with a twist. The first time she tasted this dish, she was working with Robert Danhi, who told her she had to try it in Singapore. “It’s rich, filling, it’s sweet and salty, it’s protein, it’s carbs, it’s delicious,” she describes. “It’s everything you crave the morning after partying. Carbs from the bread give you just enough energy to start the day (or at least make it through brunch), cholesterol-rich eggs help metabolize alcohol, and soy replenishes the diminished salt content of the weary body. This is a pretty traditional preparation, just how we serve it. Sometimes dishes are so, so great how they have been made for centuries and we feel accomplished if we can do it just as well and not change a thing. That is the sign of a fantastic dish, if it survives generation after generation.”
Yield: 1 portion
- 2 slices Malaysian White Bread
- 1 tsp dark soy
- dash ground white pepper
- 1 soft boiled egg (5 minute)
- 2 tablespoons coconut jam
- ¾ oz salted butter shavings
Toast the bread on one side only.
Spread 1 tablespoon coconut jam on each side and then layer the butter shavings over one side before folding over into a sandwich.
Cut the bread in half, then turn and cut into 3 sections (creating 6 even pieces).
Place the kaya toast on the large plate. On the small plate, place a circle of banana leaf and then the egg peeled and laid on top. Pour the dark soy over the egg and dash with white pepper.
Coconut Kaya Jam
- 1 cup well-shaken canned coconut milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 fresh pandan leaves
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
In a small sauce pan, combine the coconut milk and ½ cup of the sugar.
Cut the root off the pandan leaves and wash the leaves under cold running water to remove any dirt. Cut the pandan into 4-inch pieces to better fit into the saucepan. Add the pandan and the salt to the coconut mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil, pushing the pandan leaves down into the milk, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until soft. Remove from the heat and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes, or until the pandan is cool enough to handle with your bare hands.
Pull the pandan leaves out of the pan and squeeze them over the coconut mixture to extract as much flavor and liquid as possible. Discard the leaves and set the liquid aside.
Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
In a stainless steel bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and remaining ½ cup sugar. Slowly whisk the coconut mixture. Set the bowl over the saucepan of lightly simmering water and cook it gently, stirring constantly with a runner spatula, until the mixture thickens, 15 to 20 minutes. It will seem like a long time before you see any results, but then the moment the mixture starts to set, it becomes easy to overcook, so be careful not to walk away. The texture should be thick like custard. Pour the mixture into a clean container and put it in the refrigerator to cool.
Store the cooled jam in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Twist on an American Classic: Steak Bloody Mary
The US, Canada, and the UK all have similar traditions for nursing the overindulged, and they usually include bacon and a “hair of the dog that bit ya.” Chef Sonya Cote created this meal-sized Bloody Mary chockful of local beef and farm-fresh produce from Springdale Farm, where her latest restaurant, Eden East, resides. “I mean, alcohol and rare meat always cured my hangovers,” she says. “And I love oysters and Bloody Marys, so this is kind of taking it a little more local with the beef. And pickle juice alkalizes your bloodstream so it’s good for a hangover too. People drink straight apple cider vinegar to help cleanse your liver. That’s why this has a million pickles on it.”
Yields: around 20 servings
- 72-oz fire roasted tomato juice
- 6 cloves of garlic
- ½ c worchestershire
- 3 oz lemon juice
- cracked pepper to taste
- 3 t celery salt
- 2 T hot sauce
- 6 t wasabi
- 2 roasted jalapenos
- 2 t cayenne
- 6 celery stalks
- 1 lb beef ribeye, grassfed & trimmed
Roast jalapenos. Peel & remove seeds. Blend all ingredients with blender. Season steak with salt & pepper. Pan sear in a very hot pan with grapeseed oil until you reach an internal temperature of 135. Slice & serve on top of Bloody Mary.
- 1pt smoked black salt
- 3pt pink salt
- 1T chipotle
- 1T cayenne
- 1T chili powder
- 2 oz dripping springs vodka
- 4 oz bloody mix
- two thinly sliced pieces of steak
- assortment of pickled local vegetables
Veronica Meewes is an Austin-based freelance writer who will travel for food but always comes back for breakfast tacos. Follow her on Twitter @wellfedlife and visit her blog.
First published August 16 2013, 11:26 AM