Asian Buffalo Sweetbreads

by Jefferson Munroe

With tangy dipping sauce


  • 1⁄2 lb veal sweetbreads
  • 1⁄4 cup rice flour
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 package firm tofu
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Sriracha hot chili sauce
  • Grapeseed or olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 bundle celery fronds

Rinse and soak the sweetbreads in cold water for 30 minutes. Place sweetbreads in a small pan and cover with water. Juice one lemon into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. Move your pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

While the sweetbreads cool, place your tofu in a food processor with a pinch of salt. Get the blades whizzing away and add a teaspoon of lemon juice. After a minute or so you will have an emulsion with a tangy creaminess to counter the sriracha’s fire.

Once your sweetbreads have cooled, remove them from the water, pick off the membrane and any grisly bits and chill in the fridge. At this point there is the option of storing the sweetbreads and tofu sauce for up to three days before finishing the dish.

When you’re ready to eat, heat enough oil in a pan to pan fry up to 325°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, wait until the oil shimmers and drop a bit of rice flour in the oil. This should skitter about and brown up quickly.

Next, dredge the chilled sweetbreads in the rice flour and fry them in the pan, making sure to avoid overcrowding. Combine the butter and hot sauce, and swirl the cooked sweetbreads in the bowl. The heat from the sweetbreads will melt the butter and help coat the sweetbreads with the sauce.

To serve, spread a liberal amount of the tofu mixture on your plate and arrange the sweetbreads on the plate with the celery fronds as a garnish.

Recipe yields 3 to 4 appetizer-size servings.