Warning! This dish is not for the faint-hearted 🙂
When I read the recipe in Not Quite Nigella, I couldn’t wait to cook it. It sounded and looked too delicious to wait (this dish is a winter, rainy dish). It was a combination of that melt-in-your-mouth-slips-off-bone beef together with spicy and sweet asian flavours that made this dish so oh-my-goodness tasteful and heartwarming.
Looking for beef short ribs was a tiring activity and I almost gave up. I thought it was a common cut, but apparently it’s not that popular for home cooks. When I went to my local butcher’s, he showed me what was labelled as “beef spare ribs” and told me they are the same. Don’t be fooled thinking they are they same, they are surely not! The beef short ribs that I have eaten in restaurants has a thick slab of meat attached to a short bone and it’s the best cut for braising. We went from market to market, looking for short ribs and finally found them at a butcher in Victoria Market who has the last 1 kilo of short ribs. Phew!
The melt-in-your-mouth-slips-off-bone texture comes from cooking the beef for a long time. Some restaurants would cook it twice just to infuse the flavours. Braising softens the meat and infuses it with all the wonderful aromatic spices and herbs. The sauce complements rice or steamed buns very well. Having cooked this dish in the summer scorcher of 35 celsius, it tasted just as good, and of course you can’t get away without sweating it out 🙂
Sticky Glaze Beef Short Ribs (adapted from Not Quite Nigella)
1 kilo beef short ribs
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar, separate into 2 cups
Salt, to taste
3 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
Small knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 star anise
2 large red chilli, add more for extra spicy
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 dried chilli, optional
1. Mix light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, salt, garlic, ginger, star anise and chilli in a bowl. Add the beef and leave to marinade for about an hour in the fridge.
2. Remove the beef from fridge. Drain the marinade and reserve it for cooking later.
3. Heat a pan on high heat. Place the beef on the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Sear the beef on all sides until it turns brown to seal the marinade in the meat.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 160 celsius. Place the beef in an oven proof baking dish. Pour the remaining marinade into the dish and top up with 1 1/2 cup of water. Cover and seal the top of the baking dish with parchment paper. Then wrap an aluminium foil around the parchment paper. Cook the beef in the oven for 4 hours. Check at every hourly interval that the braising liquid does not dry out. Top up with some water if it does.
5. Let the beef cool in the braising liquid. Remove and place the beef in a small container. Drain the braising liquid and pour the braising liquid over the beef enough to cover them. Pour the remaining braising liquid in another container for use later. Once it’s cooled, shift the containers into the refrigerator and chill overnight.
6. Remove container from the fridge. Skim the fat off the top, re-heat the beef with the remaining braising liquid. Pour 250 ml of the braising liquid into a saucepan, mix with 1/2 cup brown sugar and rice wine vinegar for the glaze. Continue to taste as the liquid starts to reduce to a sticky syrupy glaze.
7. Place the beef on a plate and brush the glaze all around. Serve with steamed rice or if you want to dip into the sauce, you can also serve with steamed chinese buns.