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