Breaded fried beef brain (pané)

Moushira Abdel-Malek , Tuesday 29 Aug 2023

Breaded fried beef brain
Breaded fried beef brain


Serves 4-6



1 large beef brain  

Solution for Cooking Brain:

Salted boiling water 

1 onion (peeled, quartered)

4-5 peeled garlic cloves

2-3 clover cloves

Juice of one large lemon

Squeezed lemon halves

Orange or mandarin peel 

4-5 bay leaves

4-5 cardamom pods

Wooden cinnamon stick

3-4 small mastic pods (crushed into powder)

1 tbsp black pepper corns (or)1 tsp ground pepper


Mixture for Coating:

3 or 4 eggs (whole; beaten with a dash of milk)

Plain flour (added to eggs)

Salt + pepper + garlic powder + onion powder + 7 spices + cumin + grated nutmeg


Breadcrumbs to coat after the egg-flour mixture 

(Oil for deep frying)



In a very large deep pot with a lid; bring all ingredients of solution to the boil.  Lower heat to medium-low.  Allow to simmer; covered, for twenty minutes.  Meanwhile, place raw brain in a large deep bowl of salted tap water; to cover it completely; for 15 minutes; in order to remove any streaks of blood on the membrane.  Gently rinse ‘in’ fresh tap water; several times; changing water each time.  Do not rinse ‘under’ tap water.  Very gently drop brain into boiling solution.  Leave to cook, covered, for ten minutes only.  Gently remove with slotted spatulas, on to a wide plate.  Leave to cool off and come to a room temperature.  Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.  Remove from refrigerator.  Wet the tips of your forefinger and your thumb with cold water.  You will find a very thin thread between the brain segments that you need to peel off; all over the brain.  Gently pull out and they will loosen up while pulling.  Refrigerate back for another hour; to firm up tissue before slicing.  Meanwhile, prepare the coating mixture by blending all ingredients together; whisking them together in a large bowl.  Remove brain from refrigerator.  By means of a sharp knife; slice into rather thick slices.  Dip into emulsion of egg and flour; the consistency of which should resemble that of beaten yoghurt.  This can be acquired by gradually adding the amount of flour while whisking the egg mixture; until you get such consistency.  Remove gently into a bowl of breadcrumbs.  Coat all sides.  Deep fry in hot oil; over medium heat; turning only once to golden both sides as illustrated.  When all quantity is done; serve with tahine dip, green chilled arugula; served with a squeezed lemon over its leaves and some pickles of your choice and fresh out-of-the-oven baladi bread.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 31 August, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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