DING-DING – ANGLO-INDIAN PRESERVED MEAT -
Food drying is the oldest method of preserving food for use at a later date. Everyone will agree that Summer is the right time to do this, when Pickles and preserves are made to last the whole year. Anglo-Indian folks in the olden days made use of the heat of the summer sun to make Ding-Ding - our very own Anglo-Indian Sun dried preserved meat. The Meat, either beef or mutton was cut into very thin slices, washed and then marinated in a mixture of chillie powder, turmeric powder, salt, pepper and vinegar for a few hours. The marinated meat was then strung on a string and hung on the verandah or back porch to dry in the summer heat. Sometimes the meat was placed on flat plates and left to dry in the sun. Of course, someone had to be on guard to shoo away the crows that were brave enough to try to steal a piece of the drying meat. It would take a couple of days to dry completely to a crisp. The dried meat was then carefully stored away in airtight tins to be used at a later date. When required, the dried meat would be shallow fried in hot oil till brown and crisp. It made a wonderful side dish with Rice and Pepper Water or Rice and Dol (Dhal) Curry.
Anglo-Indian men in the olden days were fond of hunting, especially those living in the Tea Gardens, Mining Colonies, Railway Colonies etc . A group of them would venture into the woods and farms in search of game. They would invariably return with wild Boar, pheasants, wild ducks etc. The spoils would be shared with neighbors and friends and the remaining meat was always preserved in this way by drying it after marinating it with vinegar.
How this dried meat dish actually got its name Ding-Ding is unknown. Presumably, As the wind blew, the dangling dried meat dashed against each other with a ding sound. Hence the name Ding Ding .
Now the same dried and preserved meat could be dried quicker in an oven or in a microwave without hanging the pieces out to dry in the sun. Alternatively, one could make Ding Ding Fry with fresh meat, chicken, duck etc, by just marinating and frying them to a crisp.
This recipe and lots of other old Anglo-Indian Recipes are featured in my Recipe Book ANGLO-INDIAN CUISINE – A LEGACY OF FLAVOURS FROM THE PAST.
Recipe for DING DING
1 kg beef from the shank end of the leg (cut into very thin slices)
3 or 4 teaspoons pepper powder
2 teaspoons chillie powder
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ cup vinegar
Wash the meat and marinate with the pepper powder, salt, chillie powder, vinegar and turmeric powder for 2 or 3 hours. String the pieces of meat on a string and hang to dry. (Alternately the marinated meat could be placed on a flat plate and dried in the oven or kept in the sunlight to dry). The pieces should be dried thoroughly.
Store in an airtight container and use whenever required at a later date.
To use at a later date, soak the dried meat pieces in cold water for a couple of hours. Beat each piece with a rolling pin and then shallow fry with a little oil. This goes well with rice and pepper water or Dol (Dal) and Rice.