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Scrambled brains

April 4, 2012

No, the word brain is not a euphemism for something that looks like brain. It is real brain.

I picked this up at my local Chinese supermarket because it was the first time I ever saw it there. It ran pretty cheap, at $2.99/lb, which I think is a great deal considering how many nutrients that can be derived from the brain.

As Chinese (and probably other cultures’) parents would say, “eat the brain and you’ll become very smart.” I don’t doubt that one bit.

In a 100g portion, pig’s brain has 9g fat, of which 800mg is omega-3 fats, 10g protein, 2.5g cholesterol, 22% Vitamin C, 9% iron, 23% selenium, 37% Vitamin B12, and a plethora of many other vitamins and minerals that would be too long to list. Brain is actually an extremely healthy food if you are not concerned with cholesterol intake, and definitely tons cheaper than fresh Alaskan salmon that yields a similar omega-3 profile.

The “eating brain to become smart” bit actually does have a hint of truth in it. There are many studies that show that higher intakes of omega-3s lead to healthier brain function, especially demonstrated in people with depression. Makes me wish my parents fed me brain when I was younger…

Arguably the best way to prepare brain would be hot pot style: taking out the brain when it is just finished cooking, and eating it with some kind of sauce. That way, the brain soaks up some of the juices floating around in the broth and won’t taste so strongly of…brain.

Because of the high omega content of brain, it should also be cooked lightly and not for too long. Omegas are easily damaged in the heating process, so lightly sauteed or briefly boiled should do the trick. I chose to saute/scramble mine.

Admittedly, that is not the nicest picture of scrambled brain that I could take, though I don’t want to bother prettying up a picture of something most people find disgusting anyway. It actually doesn’t taste too bad, and the closest thing to which I could compare it would be lightly sauteed melt-in-your-mouth livers. It does have its own unique taste and mushy organ texture, and definitely reeks of offal. I’d say people should definitely try it, and I could see some people end up liking it. You didn’t like liver as a kid anyway, right?

Ingredients
1 lb fresh brain
2 Tbsp cooking fat
1/2 bulb of fresh garlic or 1/2 onion
1 tsp salt

Directions
(1) Rinse the brain thoroughly with cold water.
(2) Chop garlic or onions.
(3) Add cooking fat to the pan and heat on high until fat is completely heated.
(4) Add garlic or onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Turn down heat to medium and add brains to the pan and cover, cooking for 5 minutes.
(5) Uncover the pan and flip the brain pieces around. Place the cover back on a cook another 3 minutes, until the pieces are completely cooked, or not pink or red in color. Breaking up the brain into pieces like scrambled eggs is also acceptable. Add water if needed if the bottoms begin to burn.
(6) Sprinkle with salt or sauce of choice and serve warm.

Some people add eggs to make a sort of omelet with the brains to dull out the flavor. Spices can be added while heating up the cooking fat to add flavor. Though my pictures don’t show it, I would add garlic or onion, or some other pungent sort of vegetable, to rival the strong taste of brain.

I could also see this as a delicious pate…experiment for next time!

Enjoy!

Dai Dai

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4 Comments
  1. i love scrambled brain (serious). it’s everything that is good about scrambled eggs and cottage cheese mixed into one package, plus it’s fun to pretend you are a zombie during breakfast!

    • Haha, yeah I was thinking about that zombie bit when I was eating it. I can kind of see why they put so much effort in tracking a live one down!

  2. Marcelo permalink

    Would this work with a human brain also?

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