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An Introduction to Tripe or Pata y Panza

I’ve been wanting to talk to you about tripe for about two years now. I had only been blogging for 6 months at the time my interest piqued. After consulting with a few friends and foodies, they suggested I stay away from featuring it.

They didn’t think my new readers would be able to stomach the sight of it. Literally. I totally disagreed with them, but since they initially represented real readers, I yielded and left the beginnings of a post in my queue.

I think my blog has come a long way and has established itself as a formidable voice in Cuban and other foods. Right? That being said, I am pleased to finally talk, in part, about tripe, tripa or pata y panza (as Cubans call it), albeit in its periphery so as to spare the completely disinterested. As much as I travel and cook, taste and eat other ethnic foods, I think it’s important to introduce you to some of those different foods and cuisines. In this case, I’ll entertain you with a minor scaled feature and leave the big cahuna post with a microscopic picture of it, for a later date.

For now, I’ll show you an every day, at-home dish I absolutely love to feast on and thankful Mami taught me how to work with very early on! Next to flan and cow’s tongue, tripe is the one dish my mother makes only once to twice a year. Not because it’s labor intensive, rather because of its uncooked odor.  And, quite frankly she, my dad and I are the only ones that enjoy it! Naturally, I only make it when I go home as none of my friends are remotely interested in even hearing about it.

I’ll be honest, when I first had pata y panza (an editorial clarification: tripe is just the panza. The “pata” is cow’s feet so, in order to be a genuine pata y panza a la cubana, it has to be cow’s feet and tripe), I had no idea what I was biting into. I just knew it had an odd texture and was a bit tough to chew. When my mother told me what tripa was, some 20 years ago, I momentarily lost my appetite and all sense of taste.

How could my mother do this to me!?!

However, I remember it blended so perfectly with the pressure cooked fresh garbanzo beans, it didn’t matter that I was eating the lining of the cow’s stomach. Yes, the cow’s stomach lining.

There are 3 parts to the lining of the cow’s stomach, all of which are edible and bear different characteristics. You may have seen or heard of it referred to as honeycomb. That’s because of the similar shape and design of a bee’s honeycomb. The other two parts of the lining have similar tastes but don’t have such intricate detailing.

I hate to admit that I’m not completely familiar with the history of our pata y panza dish, made with fresh chick peas and a lovely combination of spices and herbs, which is very common in Cuban homes, but I’ll tell you that it’s a delicacy I’m honored to have as part of my cuisne’s repertoire. In many other Latin American countries, a dish called menudo, is similarly prepared to ours, though I’ve never had or made it. The classic French tripe dish is called tripe à la mode de Caen. Theirs is made with carrots, cider and onions–another variety I’ve yet to taste.

I’ve not offered it on my menu to clients, fearing they may think I’ve lost my mind, but then again, I could be underestimating their culinary curiosity or refined palate.

As for me, I appreciate the cooking method—pressure cooked, of course. It’s toughness requires an extremely long time to cook, which makes pressure cooking a suitable approach. And, garbanzos are tough themselves so cooking them together is short of a blessed marriage.

The dish above and below is the potaje de garbanzos I mentioned, simply served over steamed white rice and sliced tomatoes on the side. The picture is 2 years old! So, If I didn’t turn off too many of you, I’d love to reshoot it for a  more in-depth post with close-up shots of uncooked tripe and go describe different ways to cook this amazing delicacy, including some world known dishes; and a recipe of course!

Have you ever had tripe? How so? I want to know how you tripe!

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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83 thoughts on “An Introduction to Tripe or Pata y Panza

  1. You can also call it mondongo in Puerto Rico or callos in Spain…anyway you serve it it’s delicious and you served it just right…whith that gorgeous white rice. Great dish for winter and when you have a slight hangover.

  2. hey girl! Brazilians use tripe in their black beans, ohh my God its so so good. I beg my Mom to make some since it takes me back to my childhood. Also the tripe is not tough at all but instead very soft and delicious, as crazy at it may seem. Next time she is in town, we have to make some for you. 🙂

  3. Never had tripe….can’t say that I am that adventurous! How about you make it and NOT tell me what it is. 😉

  4. I am trying to like tripe (I love liver and kidneys), but it is really an aquired taste… I really love andouillettes though. You dish looks lovely!



  5. Ummm I have a “Potaje de Pata y Panza” on my blog. The Cuban “Pata y Panza” is simply the Cuban version of the Spaniard “Callos a la Madrilena” or “Callos a la Gallega” pretty much that’s the story behind it (at least for the Cubans of Spanish descent that cook it, sometimes it’s identical to those spanish callos dishes, my grandmas is a little bit Criollo cuz she adds calabaza to it)

    The Potajes made with just pork feet those are “Catalan” origin, exactly like the one’s in Spain or with a slight twist. I have a “Potaje de Garbanzos con Pata de Puerco” in my blog too.

    I also eat tripe often in the form of the Mexican “Menudo” which I am yet to post. I am very familiar with organ meats and have no shame in eating them and preparing them, heck my friends can either like it or hate it makes no difference to me lol. as long as I like it n when i cook it other’s can enjoy it too im happy.

  6. Mmm, yummy. Yes, it is an acquired taste -mostly if you know what you’re eating beforehand- but it tastes great. I agree with Simone: uncooked it can be hard, but after a good session of pressure cooking, it is soft and delicate, although panza experts (like myself) will tell you it shouldn’t be too soft. The great thing is that you can have it (pata being cow’s feet) itself or, as in the Cuban tradition, with some killer garbanzos.

  7. Potaje de Pata y Panza? never heard of; I know potaje de garbanzos con pata y panza or, yes, the Cuban version of Callos a la Madrilena. Oh, well, it’s never late to learn something new.

  8. I’ve only had tripe a few times but I love it. One of my favorite restaurants here in NYC- Testaccio Restaurante in Long Island City- does an an amazing tripe. It’s a Roman restaurant so they call their tripe “Trippa in umido” and describe it as “Braised veal tripe with tomato, Roman mint & shaved pecorino.” It’s delicious. The chef, Ivan Beacco, is a great guy, too – next time you’re here in NYC I’ll take you to meet him and taste his delicious tripe! 🙂

  9. Who told ypu to stay away from this. Please. Tripe can be excellent and is showing up in all the best restaurants. I love tripe in a shabu shabu. Listen to your gut. Im glad you posted this. Who knows , your clients may be more adventursome than you think.

  10. wow,garbanzos mi frijol favorito.como me gustan los garbanzos son tan ricos.y eso se ven yumi yumi.gracias carmen

  11. Wonderful post. I am glad you used organ meat. Too many people thumb their noses at offal. The only way to properly honor the life of the animal that gave it life for our sustenance is too eat the whole thing. Not just the prime cuts of beef.

    By the way, learning to cook offal and make it appetizing really seperates the cooks from the posers.

    Great job, lovely dish!

  12. Somehow I missed this until just now, but tripe (and offal in general) can be fantastic stuff. Tripe appears in many in phở bowls (Vietnamese noodle soup) as well. Yum, although perhaps not in this weather…

    People who like cheese probably shouldn’t object to tripe. Calf bellies were the original source of rennet used to coagulate cream… Good chance cheese was “discovered” when someone stored milk in a calf belly and left it too long.

  13. Norma: yeah i know about mondongo, but never had it. have had a Spanish version which is great. But I just love, love, love our pata y panza… Perfect for fall/winter.

    Simone: Woman. Have you worked with raw tripe? Es mas duro que tu madre! lol. So, yeah, I pressurize it to make it tender. And of course it’s extremely delicious.

    Chris: ooh wee girlfriend…it’s so so so good. In fact, had some last week when I was in NYC. Some Italian place in Tribeca.

    Rosa: Never had them over kidney beans but it sounds great.

    Nathan: Yeah i saw that. not interested in any with pork, but i’m sure it’s very common in our cuisine! 🙂 Not had Mexican or D.R. menudo so I must try.

    David: Acquired indeed, but since I’ve been eating it since I was little, no acquiring here!

    Esther: I can’t get enough of it, but the stench is so foul I don’t make it as much. I’m really liking the sound of the Trippa in Umido. I recently had a tomato version in NYC that I simply fell in love with. Too good. Need to get the name of it.

    Courtney: Crazy people told me to stay away from posting it, but since I didn’t know how readers would react, I left it as just a pic and a far away one at that. I’m now looking forward to doing a full feature. Thanks for enjoying with me.

    Carmen: es mi tercer favorito frijol. yummi yummi is right, especialmente cuando hechos bien!

    Lazaro: I love organ meat. Well, except for liver if not cooked as pate or fois gras. Tripe is amazing and sadly not enough people I know are adventurous enough to try it. I figure you gotta eat just about everything available! Otherwise, it’s a waste.
    I’m glad you also enjoy this as much as I do! Next time I blog about it, which will be a more in-depth article, I’ll make sure to ping yoU! 🙂

    Jason: Oh yes it can! Love it. That’s all. No, really, like I said above, it’s amazing how many people aren’t really into it. Do you do tongue and oxtail? And, leave it to you to come up with a great theory for the discovery of cheese! Smiling.

  14. Nearly a year later I stumbled onto this interesting website…just want to add that I’m Cuban and that my large Spain-raised gallego family on one side of my family used to cook tripe only at Xmas, since we slaughtered our own pig and used all of it. We called it mondongo, though, a common name in old Cuba as well. I hate to say I never liked it, not even with garbanzos, a favorite of mine (though I used to eat brains, heart, kidney, liver and tongue without hesitation). Except for liver I don’t eat any of them now since my wife won’t cook them or eat them. I have now lived many years in California where menudo, Mexican soul food, is sold everywhere; I don’t like it either. At least I’m consistent LOL….

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