Friday, 7 June 2013

Ep 11 Roti: Curried Chitterlings

Gut feeling:


His head on a plate 

Magnetic images 


Dashed home last night to watch the Roti episode broadcast and somehow missed my food scene. It’s like when you’re at the ball game and you’ve been sitting through six innings and no one has come close to home plate so you decide you need a hotdog but by the time you get back, the score has jumped to 4-0 and you missed all the action while you were deciding if gravy goes with spicy fries.

Never mind. The whole episode had been going sideways for me from the very beginning when I first read the production draft script:


Hannibal ENTERS carrying GALLINEJAS, corkscrew shaped battered morsels, lovingly displayed on a platter.

Hmmm Gallinejas. Chickens in rubber boots?  Small female gondoliers? I just don’t know enough (any, actually) Spanish to go much further in my menu-planning for this episode.

Just ask Chef Google

Good for Google. She always has an answer – or more like two thousand answers – you decide which one is the right one. Scrolling multiple pages tells me that Gallinejas are sheep’s entrails prepared in the Spanish manner -- deep fried and served with with fried potatoes. Well, you lost me at “entrails” but got me back at “deep-fried”. Is there anything on earth that doesn’t taste better deep-fried?

Pasta? It looks like sheep intestines to me.

Chef Google also gives me recipes with cheerful remarks such as 
“Be very careful to wash the intestines thoroughly because the contents of the gut can be toxic.”


“Preparing Gallenejas is quite labor-intensive but the results, although not to everyone taste, can be very good.”  

But I am not discouraged until I read Chef G’s helpful hint, “Don’t be put off by the smell when you are boiling the sheep gut -- a bit of airing-out and your kitchen will smell fresh as before.”


I call my pal at Torito, a great tapas place in Kensington and he offers to make me a big batch for the shoot. I'll just pick them up.

Great. Like a big bucket of Take-out.

I love Take-out. I think it was invented by Chinese-Americans so  it is actually my right by heritage and tradition to employ it.

Phoenix nests form a cracked cranium spilling Gallinejas between horns on the platter Hannibal serves to Chilton. Gallinejas are usually served with French fried potatoes,  hence Chinese Phoenix nests made of crisp-fried julienne potatoes.  And it's Blood Orange season, so perfect for blood spatter on the salad platter.

So I’m set with the Gallinejas. Until I get a call from Jose Andres. We can’t use Gallinejas because it’s a Spanish dish and we did Spanish in the previous episode. Too much Spanish! His intrepid assistant, Robyn Stern emails me her suggestions of unSpanish sheep gut dishes. How about Chitterlings? (No, if this was for Blind Lemon Hannibal, it would be OK, but this is Dr H Lecter. No chitlin circuit for him.) Wugen Chang Wang – Taiwanese Stew of pig intestines and blood? (No, we need to keep the sheep metaphor in the script.) Lamb Fries or Rocky Mountain Oysters? (No. Just say No to balls on a platter.)

Jose suggests a refined dish of intestines in dashi broth with delicately sliced daikon and Bryan Fuller loves it! Done.

Or are we?
Sketch of revised Chitlins for Chilton
No final decisions yet because we can’t shoot the food scene. It will have to be picked up later because Raul Esparza who plays Dr Chilton has to go back to New York to shoot an episode of Law & Order.

By the time the food scene can be rescheduled we’ve moved on and shot all of Episode 11. It’s got a Chinese Herbal Medicine soup. So now, Japanese soup is out. Midnight decisions on what sheep gut dish to make.

Kudal in a banana leaf bowl - a riff on Sri Lankan Lumpries - decorated with a young Protea flower that hasn't developed its hard thistles...yet.

I suggest a nice curry. We haven’t done South Asian food yet and there is a lovely coconutty sheep gut curry called Aatu Kudal Kulambu (or “Kudal” for short). It would be a great opportunity to showcase that wonderful cuisine.

As I prep for the scene, no one on the crew wants to sample my curry, even though I reassure them I have used the pasta pictured at the top of this post which I coloured and snipped to look like sheep intestines.

People, it's not's not even sheep's intestines. Sometimes pasta is just pasta!
Plate of banana leaf bowl of curried "sheep intestine" pasta, rice, pomegranate pani puri, purple sweet potato crisps on a cupped banana leaf decorated with a banana flower.

A platter of baby samosas and bindi bhaji, decorated with ladyfingers, baby eggplant and slivered onions
On set, we were debating the best wine to serve with the Kudal and Mads suggested a frosty glass of Hannibal’s homebrewed People Beer. Perfect!
Cauliflower brains - one rubbed with tumeric and the other tandoori spice garnished with a banana flower

Time to get cooking!

So don’t just sit there watching everyone else eat, cook your own delicious curry noodles!

Panthe Kow Swey
This gently spiced chicken noodle stew is the national dish of Burma and my recipe is from actor Sandra O”Neill, national treasure. Besan (black chick pea flour) is called for in her recipe but it’s optional.

If you want to go Hannibalistic, substitute thin strips of cooked tripe for half of the chicken. Tummylicious!

serves 4

one-half        chicken, boned and cut in pieces about  1” x .5” x .5”
2 Tbsp          crushed garlic
1 Tbsp          grated ginger
1 large          onion, finely chopped
¼ tsp            chili powder
2 tsp             turmeric
¼  tsp           salt
¼ cup           oil
1 cup            coconut milk
½ cup           chicken cooking liquid or water with ½ tsp Besan mixed in (or not)

2 cups               warm, cooked, drained thick rice noodles or egg noodles

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°
  2. In a bowl, mix together chicken, garlic, ginger, onion, chili, turmeric, salt and oil. Heat a large heavy pot over high heat. Add chicken mixture and fry, stirring lightly (do not brown). Remove from heat and add enough water to cover meat. Bake uncovered in pre-heated oven for 30 min. Remove chicken from cooking liquid, strain cooking liquid and reserve 3/4 cup, adding water if necessary.
  3. Combine chicken, reserved cooking liquid and coconut milk in a large saucepan and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. When ready to serve, place a portion of noodles in four large soup bowls, add chicken pieces, spoon liquid over that and serve. Place the small bowls of accompaniments in the centre of the table, encouraging guests to generously sprinkle accompaniments on top of their Kow Swey as they eat it.


1 small bowl     chopped tomatoes
1 small bowl     chopped green onion
1 small bowl     chopped coriander leaves
1 small bowl     boiled egg, diced
1 small bowl     lime wedges
1 small bowl     pan-fried dried whole chillies
1 small bowl     crisp-fried onion bits
1 small bowl     crisp-fried garlic bits

I hope you try this dish. It is easy to make and really really really good.

Next week: Silkie SoupChinese Herbal Medicine in a bowl is probably not potent enough to make up for what’s happening to poor Will. Why are the writers so mean to him? Fight back, Will, fight back! You've got to make it through Season 2 now that Hannibal's been renewed....


  1. This blog is fascinating on so many different levels! Thanks for your insights and behind-the-scenes info from a foodie, a newly graduated production and design theater grad, and a fan of any well-crafted television show. Keep up the amazing work.

    1. Great career choice! Theatre is a challenging and rewarding place to be. All the best for a stellar future!

  2. Genial, amo la serie hannibal y las comidas...puertoarial.

    1. Gracias - mucho más por venir, vamos a empezar a filmar de nuevo en agosto!

  3. I am making the Panthe Kow Swey tonight, I really look forward to every post on here!

    Plus it always makes me laugh out loud.

    1. I really hope you liked the Panthe Kow Swey. And thanks for getting my jokes.

    2. Yes it turned out fantastic! I am for sure going to make it again :) thank you for sharing!

    3. Send me photos of your Panthe Kow Swey if you have any so I can post them on my new page I'm compiling of Hannibal food that readers/viewers have made. Send to

  4. You changed my lunch plans! I read this last week just before going out to get a sandwich, then changed my mind halfway there and went to the Asian place across the street from the sandwich shop for a coconut curry. And it wasn't until I got home that I realized why.

    1. That's funny!!!! Hannibal is on your mind...don't let him get at your brain! He'll scramble it - with eggs.

      On the other hand, I think we all need to eat more coconut curry. Yum.