Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vietnamese-Style Beef Short Ribs with a Sweet Vinegar Glaze

This is my version of an amazing recipe I found in Fine Cooking Magazine a few years ago. I still have that edition No. 99 sitting on my kitchen bookshelf, next to other treasured cooking publications.  

It is one my favorite beef short rib recipes, because it packs such an addictively intense flavor, and is a crowd-pleaser every time. 

It involves three main steps: grilling (or searing), braising,  grilling again (or searing) + glazing

Carefully read the recipe, and plan ahead, as it involves seasoning overnight, a few hours of braising, and also additional time for the braising liquid to cool down.


I made some modifications to the original recipe, and I am also offering some tips:

In addition to the ginger and garlic, I have added  minced lemongrass to the braising liquid, although probably it does not change the end flavor too much.

In lieu of a charcoal grill, I used a ProCast reversible 2-burner griddle, which is ideal for stove-top searing, and allows you to make this dish all year-round, and not only during the warmer barbecuing months. 

Seasoned ribs searing on the griddle
I braised my short ribs in a large  pot on low heat for 2-3 hours, but a crockpot or Dutch oven can also be used.

Because the separation of fat from the braising liquid occurs very slowly, I would definitely plan ahead, so that one does not end up waiting around for the fat to rise to the top. I put my liquid in the refrigerator, which helps speed the process, and the cold temperature allows the fat on top to solidify for easier and more efficient skimming. 

It's okay if the refrigerated braising liquid turns gelatinous (which is to be expected), since you will heat it up again to reduce it for the glaze. 

I would recommend tasting the simmering glaze, and adjust for salt (by adding more soy sauce if necessary), sweetness and acidity (by adding more sugar and/or vinegar). But don't over-pour!

In addition to scallions and cilantro, you can also garnish with shredded purple cabbage, for additional visual pleasure.

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