Oriental Beef Short Ribs – Authentic… Who Cares?

I was in one of my favourite butcher shops recently. I was in my usual state of having no clue what to cook for the Sunday family dinner (a 25 year tradition in our gaff). My eye was drawn to some outstanding beef short ribs. Temperatures in Ireland hadn’t hit the “Oh I need comfort food” level and I was wrestling with my desire to get the ribs and cook them low and slow. I bought them anyway and took them home. Weather was pretty warm (or as “pretty warm” as it ever gets in Ireland in September). I needed an alternative plan. My store cupboard of Oriental ingredients came to the rescue and I concocted Oriental Beef Short Ribs. This is not an ‘authentic’ Oriental recipe in that it was devised by an Irishman in a bit of a flap about getting a dinner prepared. However, I defy you to find a tastier way of preparing beef short ribs in an Oriental style.

It’s a pretty Oriental looking set of ingredients.

Ingredients – for 4 or 5 people

  • 1.5 kilos of meaty beef short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon of yellow bean paste
  • 3 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of fermented bean curd
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 5cm (2″) of ginger
  • 5 or 6 star anise
  • 2 teaspoons of mixed peppercorns
  • Thai fragrant rice to serve

If this was an authentic recipe, there would be some very detailed instructions on preparing the ingredients. As this is not authentic in any way, I will rush you through the prep. First peel and slice the ginger.

The knife is authentic. I bought it about 25 years ago in an Oriental supermarket.

Heat your oven to 170ºC (340ºF). Peel and bash the ginger. This is best done by cutting off the root end of each clove and hitting it with the side of a good knife. This will make removing the dried skin very easy.

Bashing the garlic helps it release it’s flavour. That’s a good thing.

Add all the ingredients apart from the beef to a roasting pan and stir to incorporate.

This is a pretty punchy mixture. don’t be put off by it’s pungent nature.

Rub the ribs around in the mixture, being sure to coat them well. This is a pretty sticky mess at this stage. Distribute the garlic, ginger and star anise around the dish.

The fermented bean curd adds a lovely colour.

Cover the roasting dish with aluminium foil (shiny side inwards) and place in the 170ºC oven. This takes about four and a half to five and a half hours to cook. All you have to do during the cooking is occasionally spoon the cooking sauce over the ribs to keep them moist and to pack them with flavour.

This shot was taken after about three hours in the oven.

Note the ribs beginning to free themselves from the meat in the shot above. By the time this is cooked, the rib bones will fall free.

When the ribs are cooked (when the bones have completely separated from the meat), pour off the liquid and separate the layer of fat from the delicious sauce.

Inauthentic sauce goes back over the meat. Note the meat’s darkening colour.

Once you have separated the fat from the sauce, return the dish to the oven, uncovered. Spoon the sauce over the meat every 5 minutes or so until it becomes nice and thick. Then slice the meat and serve it with some Thai fragrant rice. This is a totally delicious, totally inauthentic Oriental dish. Give it a go. You won”t be disappointed.

The sliced chilli give it an authentic feel. Don’t be fooled.

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Latest comments
  • By the time you’ve cooked that all down it’s got to have some amazing flavour. Sadly, it’s much too hot here to try it; I’m looking for the opposite of comfort food right now after 4 months of zero rain and the ever increasing heat of that ‘fictitious’ global warming. So, pasta primavera it is…. But I’ll bookmark this for June.

      • Not a cloud in the sky, not a chance in the forecast. Hoping for a cool change and a nice cloudburst!

  • Conor – for an Irish chef with a very fertile imagination methinks you have managed to create something which belongs in a recipe book ! Quite frankly I do not remember when I last had yellow bean paste in the house . . . so shopping needed before our Long Weekend. Temperatures have never bothered me as far as food is concerned, but have to admit that when the forecast is for over 41C in my state with no rain forecast until next month, one gets a wee bit worried for gardens dying and trees burning . . . . meanwhile one weekend dish planned . . .

  • I am a huge fan of short ribs and this looks like an absolute cracker … nice one, Mr. B.

  • Very nice Conor! I love anything with ginger.

  • I do a similar version with a little hoisin and black bean paste instead of the honey, bean curd, and yellow bean paste. I also pop in a couple of cloves. One of my favorite ways to cook these delicious morsels of meat.

    We’re in the middle of a mini heat wave, unfortunately complete with local fires, so this will have to hold until the weather is more cooperative and we’re not breathing smoky air.

  • Authenticity doesn’t always meet your taste expectations. Looks perfect and tasty to me!

  • Wish I could get such great looking (or any) beef short ribs. I would cook them sous-vide, and why not in a faux Oriental style. It certainly looks and sounds great. Also love your fat separation device — why hadn’t I thought of that before! P.S. Have you ever tried to cook those short ribs sous-vide? You should? 48 hours at 57C and they will be to die for.

      • I’ve done them bone in mostly. Not sure it that makes a huge difference though. The only drawback of cooking them at 57 degrees is that the ‘skin’ will stay tough so you will probably want to trim that at some point. Happy cycling!

  • Who cares about authenticity, is right! This looks amazing. And if you are getting autumn weather, please send it here. Crazily we’re having a heat wave, I should be wearing jumpers now. Sigh.

  • I see this in my future. Sounds and looks fantastic.

  • The photos alone are stunning, can’t even begin to imagine what the actual food tasted like. Have you considered getting into a flap more often? Just a thought.

      • When we agree?! Was the fact that we camped out outside your house not enough of a clue?!!

  • The only fermented bean curd I can find is in cubes?? Help

  • Stunning recipe Conor. I’m embracing comfort food even if it isn’t that cold yet

  • Yum. Yum. Yum. And “authentic” enough!

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