Secrets to Tenderize Meat in Your Recipes

Tough meat is a common problem encountered while cooking; let's discover the following tips to fix this issue, shall we?


The tenderness of the meat greatly affects the quality of the dish, making it difficult to slice, bite, or chew.

To soften tough meat and make it more moist and delicious, you can apply the following methods:

1. Papaya

The ability of papaya to tenderize meat is due to an enzyme called papain. This substance has the ability to break down proteins by adding water molecules. Papain is most concentrated in the green skin layer of the green papaya fruit. Therefore, you only need to use this green skin layer. For every 2 tablespoons of finely chopped green papaya skin, add ¼ tablespoon of salt and grind this mixture into a paste, then mix it with the tough meat. Just a few minutes later, the meat will become tender again.

You can also store the papaya skin and salt mixture in the refrigerator for future use.

2. Vinegar

If you are using meat to cook soups or stews, you can add a tablespoon of vinegar to the broth before adding the meat. Vinegar helps to tenderize the meat. For grilled dishes, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the marinade before grilling the meat. The dish will have the fragrance and sour taste of vinegar, but the meat will definitely be tender and easy to eat.

3. Lemongrass

Lemongrass contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is one of the substances that can tenderize meat. Thanks to this enzyme (a group of hydrolyzing enzymes, commonly used in food processing), the meat fibers become softer. To tenderize the meat, simply add a few leaves or the base of the lemongrass into the pot and cook it with the dish. For dishes without sauce, grind a little lemograss, squeeze out the juice and marinate it with the meat.

4. Meat marinade

Using meat sauce to marinate and tenderize the meat is a common method used by many housewives. The marinating process also means making the meat tender. The marinating process is quite simple, just put the meat into a sauce made from various spices according to your preference. However, the results may vary depending on the type of marinade you use. Additionally, marinating time can also affect the taste and tenderness of the meat.

5. Meat tenderizer tool

The meat tenderizer tool does not affect the taste of the meat but only impacts its structure, making the meat more tender. The meat tenderizer tool comes in various shapes, but they are usually made of wood or metal with a square-shaped head, and the square surface is grooved into small square notches, forming small pointed heads on both sides. To soften the meat, use this tool to gently pound the surface of the meat. Under the pressure of the pounding motion, the meat fibers will become tender.
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