Meat tenderizer will help to cook moist, juicy, and tender meat. Here are 10 natural meat tenderizer that you can easily get to conveniently use in your cooking.
In this post, I am going to share how to use meat tenderizer in your cooking in an easy way. So, let’s delve into it.
What is Meat Tenderizer?
Meat tenderizer will help to tender the meat. It will not only tenderize but also make it juicy and moist while cooking.
You can use it as an ingredient in your marination and during cooking. Many of the BBQ recipes come with the addition of a tenderizer to make the meat moist and juicy after charcoal cooking.
You can use it in two ways:
- Natural meat tenderizer: In this post, I am going to share the list of 10 effective natural meat tenderizers that you can easily find from nearby stores, or you can find some in your pantry to add in your cooking. Natural meat tenderizer is safe and good to use.
- Store bought meat tenderizer: It comes in form of powder which contain meat pondering elements called Papain extracted from raw papaya and some prepared with Bromelain that comes from pineapple. Both are Proteolytic enzyme helps to break the tough tissue/muscles of meat to make it lean and tender after cooking.
On a personal note, from a very long time, I am using natural meat tenderizer in my cooking. In fact, it’s in my family history as they all use natural tenderizer in cooking so I can assure you using the natural tenderizer is safe and you can conveniently use it in your cooking too. All tested and perfected in my kitchen.
10 Natural Meat Tenderizer
1) Green Papaya Paste
Green papaya or raw papaya is basically an unripe papaya mostly used in form of paste in South Asian cooking. India and Pakistan are famous to make delectable BBQ recipes with the help of green papaya.
Velveting Meat with Green Papaya:
Well, Green papaya is extremely healthy and natural meat tenderizer that you can use in form of paste in small quantity in your meat during marination or while cooking. It has natural enzymes that will naturally break the tight muscles of meat. You can use it in beef, mutton/lamb, or chicken according to the cooking requirements.
Many people remove the skin of green papaya and make paste of papaya flash. As per my experience, green papaya skin is more tenderizing compared to flash. You can wash it with hot water to remove the dirt and grime and use it with papaya flash to make the paste.
How to Make Papaya Meat Tederizer?
Here is the step-by-step recipe to make Papaya meat tenderizer and store it for 6 months.
Papaya meat tenderizer literally works well with kebab recipes.
Here are some Recipes Using Papaya as Meat Tenderizer
2) Betel Nuts (Areca Nut - Chalia)
It’s a famous meat tenderizer in India and Pakistan and mostly used in stew cooking. So, if you are looking how to tenderize stew meat then a small cut of betel nut will give you amazing result without changing the taste and quality of stew.
Betel nut is the specie of palm tree grows in Asia and Africa.
How To Use Betel Nut in Meat Tenderizer?
You can break the hard body of betel nut with cutter into small parts (if you don’t have cutter use the hammer). After cracking, directly use it in your marination.
You can remove the small parts after marination if you want otherwise, you can leave it there. I personally remove the small parts of betel nuts after marination. In the same way, if you are using in stew cooking then remove it after cooking. As it may give hard time to chew and may be inconvenient for older people.
3) Baking Soda (Soda bicarbonate)
Best to tenderize hammered beef steak. A small quantity of baking soda can turn the meat into velvety texture just by breaking down the tough tissues.
It’s an easy and convenient way to tenderize meat in small time. It works not only in meat but also you can use to tender lentils and legumes.
Baking soda hardly take 15 to 20 minutes to tenderize meat. It works as a catalyst that accelerate the process of breaking meat tissues and turn into velvety texture.
How to Use Baking Soda as Tenderizer?
You can use it as a brine like wash the meat with baking soda water. Add ⅓ teaspoon of baking soda in water and mix well. Add 1 Kg meat in it and let it there for 01 hour.
Another way of using baking soda is to use in marination or in curry. Use small quantity of soda in marination and leave it for 30 minutes.
Over marination can break all the tissues of meat and make it like a paste after cooking so monitor the marination time, and quantity to get the best results.
4) White Vinegar
Another way to use natural meat tenderizer is Vinegar which will not only help to make your meat tender but also add a sour and acetic flavor to meat.
It will break the meat protein with the help of acidic property. You can add 1 to 2 teaspoon of white synthetic vinegar in your marination or while cooking curry, stew, or gravy meat. Give it 30 minutes to make it tender and juicy.
Most preferred method is to use while making roast in meat marination. Make a deep cut on meat and apply vinegar with marination paste. It will help to decompose meat collagen and give you extremely moist roast cuts with sharp sour and acetic flavor with pungent roast aroma.
It’s an amazing natural meat tenderizer. It doesn’t work like other tenderizer does in little time, but it will give you the best flavor with tender meat. Overnight marination with yogurt works well and you can expediate the process with the addition of ginger garlic. It will give you the best flavor if you are making curry or making roast.
I personally love to use yogurt in every recipe that I make. Use fresh natural Greek yogurt and it will give you the best result.
Yogurt cooked or marinated meat never be rubbery in texture and that’s the best reason to use it.
Here are some recipe ideas prepared with Yogurt:
Indian Lamb Curry
Chicken and Yellow Rice
6) Ginger Garlic
Protease digest protein, a special enzyme in ginger help to break protein into small peptides that turn into amino acids which is a source of energy. Along with garlic, ginger makes a special bond and help to make meat more tender and juicier.
It’s a traditional way to tenderize the meat but it will take so long if you are marinating the meat. Works well with pressure cooking and other types of pan cooking.
Here are some recipes prepared with Ginger Garlic:
7) Salt (Kosher Sea Salt)
Salt has natural ingredients and tendency to soften the hard tissues of meat. Overnight marination with salt on a piece of steak can give you the best result.
What happens when you apply salt on meat. Salt basically saturate with natural water of meat and penetrate into deep tissues of meat and make it lean after some time. Roast cooked with salt brine is extremely juicy and tender.
There are many recipes where salt use as major tenderizing element in cooking. Here is the step by step process to salt the roast in proper manner.
8) Pineapple Juice/Pulp
As I mentioned earlier that many of the store-bought meat tenderizer use Bromelain that the natural enzyme of Pineapple has tendency to break meat muscles fast.
If you don’t have green papaya, then use Pineapple as it’s a fast meat tenderizer and easy to use. You can simply use the juicy and pulp of pineapple as per your convenience.
For example, if you are marinating a piece of steak with pineapple juice then completely soak the meat with pineapple juice in a deep glass bowl for 8 to 12 hours. After that cook it to get lean and tender meat.
Always use the FRESH pineapple juice or pulp to use as meat tenderizer.
9) Green Kiwi Fruit
In green kiwi, there is a natural enzyme Actinidin that has the tendency to break the strong protein bonds in meat into smaller and tiny parts.
To get the best tendering result with green Kiwi fruit, use the pulp with skin and add it in marination and leave it for 4 to 5 hours to get penetrated in meat muscle. After that, cook it, roast it, or make it on charcoal, it will give you the appetizing flavor of tender meat.
Always use the Kiwi pulp with skin to use as best tenderizer
Figs are really the best meat tenderizer if you are tenderizing meat in stews, curry, and gravy recipes on stovetop. Simply add fresh figs and it will break the meat protein and help to thicken the curry.
May I use Meat tenderizer Tool?
Yes, you can use any sort of meat tenderizer tool along with meat tenderizer. Tool will help to make your meat lean, and tenderizer will naturally break the fiber and tough tissues of meat. Hammering the steak meat can make it lean but the small quantity of tenderizer will make it soft, juicy, moist with good tendering taste.
Q & A
Well, papaya paste is the best beef tenderizer. You can use it in beef marination. No need to hammering. It will easily soften the hard tissues of beef. In 500g beef, 2 teaspoon is enough to use. Marination time: 4 hours. If you marinate for long time then the meat may become mushy.
When making steak, roast, or having hard time to tender the meat. Best way to use tenderizer is in meat marinade.
It depends on meat tenderizer that you are using. Papaya paste take 4 to 5 hours. In the same way, pineapple juice take overnight marinade time for get the good result. Yogurt take long time to soften the meat. Baking soda take less time, 30 minutes are enough.
All of the natural meat tenderize will tenderize the meat with velvety texture but the taste will be different. I personally use the papaya or baking soda along with yogurt and ginger garlic paste as it makes a perfect taste.
You can tender the steak meat with hammer and use small quantity of baking soda or vinegar to make it tender.
It's easy to tenderize stew meat with betel nut. If you don't have then simmer the meat using slow heat process. Pressure cooking using old style pressure cookers or instant pot can make the meat tender in few minutes.
Here are few tips to cook the tender meat:
1) Use small cubes of meat.
2) Cook the meat on high heat.
3) Use ginger garlic and yogurt in making stew.
4) Completely sealed the pot and cook on slow heating.
5) Here are the tips to thicken the curry.
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