With the Chinese New Year (February 19th) nearly upon us, this is the perfect dish to help celebrate the Year of the Goat. In China, this is truly the holiday for families. So, pull out the red lanterns, put on your red underwear, text a friend “Three Goats bring harmony” and let the festivities begin! This is the perfect make-ahead dish, to be able to enjoy your guests, be they family by blood or by choice. This is also the perfect time to explore another culture. Food is a great way to do that. But, before we begin, here are a few things to think about…Red. It is thought that red brings luck, money, health…you name it, red does it! I understand that red underwear are available everywhere, even in supermarkets!
Anyway, back to food. The New Year’s Eve table will usually include long noodles, which represent longevity…they are also very tasty. A whole chicken and some pork will usually appear, as well as dumplings. The very last thing to be brought to the table will be an entire fish, probably steamed or fried. It isn’t expected to be eaten entirely. The head is eaten first and the remainder of the fish is expected to be eaten the following day; there is the expectation of always having leftover fish for the following day. Since The Goddess isn’t Chinese or have any Asian connection except to say, it is probably her absolute favorite food. It’s true. I have an absolute weakness for dim sum. And you know, The Goddess is always willing to try wild and wonderful new things like chicken legs, but I draw the line at snakes.
Back to our much less Chinese dish, but nonetheless, very tasty. This dish can, of course, be prepared in the oven, but it works wonderfully well in the slow-cooker, so why not?
Spicy Asian Short Ribs
- 2 onions, peeled and cut into wedges from top to bottom
- 3 tablespoons julienned fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon julienned orange peel
- 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5 pounds beef short ribs (or 3-3 1/2 pounds boneless)
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Asian black vinegar (you may substitute red wine vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy; this is just mild heat)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch, combined with an equal amount of water (a slurry)
- 3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon black and white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional)
- Chile threads (optional)
- Cooked jasmine rice
Place the onions, ginger, orange zest, garlic and cinnamon sticks in a 5-quart slow cooker; using your hands, toss to combine. Place the carrots, then the ribs on top of the onion mixture.
Combine soy sauce, sugar, vinegars, Shaoxing or sherry, molasses, sesame oil, cloves, and red pepper flakes in a bowl; pour the sauce over the ribs. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 5-6 hours or until meat is tender.
Transfer ribs to a platter. Skim and discard excess fat from liquid; pour into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 4 minutes, to reduce the mixture slightly. Blend the cornstarch slurry into the liquid, stirring well, and cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Top ribs with sauce, scallions and sesame seeds. Sprinkle chile threads over the top. Serve with cooked jasmine rice.
NOTE: Sometimes I drizzle a bit of extra sesame oil over the dish just before serving. If you like the sauce to be on the sweet side, add some additional brown sugar when you thicken the sauce after cooking. This is also very tasty with some hoisin sauce. You can add it to the sauce, or serve it on the side. Hot mustard is also a nice addition. If there are leftovers, I tear the meat apart, add it to the sauce and serve it hot over cooked noodles.
A Slow-Cooker Note: I cook on LOW for 5 hours, then my slow-cooker automatically switches to WARM. I let it cook for an additional 2-3 hours on WARM. It’s perfect every time, but this process may not apply to your slow-cooker, so plan accordingly.
Spicy Asian Short Ribs Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
This goes together very quickly. First, I cut the orange zest is cut into fine julienne. I peeled strips of the zest with a vegetable peeler, stacked the strips on top of each other and then simply cut thin, thin slices at an angle.
Next, the vegetables go into the slow cooker, then the meat on top. Put the sauce together and pour over the whole thing. Pop the lid on, set it on LOW and forget it…for awhile. Now you can go about your day, cleaning and doing other mind-numbingly mundane things, knowing that dinner will be wonderful.
Finally, when the meat is lovely and tender, pour the liquid off into a saucepan, stir in arrowroot slurry and boil for 2-3 minutes. Pour the sauce back over the meat and
serve over Jasmine rice with scallions, sesame seeds (which I chose not to use here) and some chile threads.
Chile threads are like little strips of coarse hair…I know, not very appetizing, but they are fun to use as a garnish. I throw them in salads, rice, risotto, etc. They are pretty to look at, and they have just a hint of heat. They are used in Korean cooking and are available at The Spice Mill.