Slow-braised beef ribs

Slow-braised beef ribs

The Food of Vietnam
Alan Benson

Slow-braising beef ribs with cassia bark, star anise, cloves and Sichuan peppercorns makes a perfect winter meal. A simple dish that will have your guests asking, ‘Wow, how did you get the meat to fall off the bone like that?’


Quantity Ingredient
2kg beef short ribs, cut by your butcher through the bone into 3 cm lengths
1 litre vegetable oil
4 spring onions, cut into 3 cm lengths, white part only
coriander sprigs, to garnish
2 long red chillies, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Braising mixture

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 cassia bark stick
4 star anise
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon whole sichuan peppercorns
50 g knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, bruised
4 tablespoons shaoxing rice wine
125ml light soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
125ml chinese black vinegar
500ml young coconut juice
70g rock sugar
2 pieces dried mandarin peel


  1. Separate the ribs by cutting between the bones.
  2. Add the oil to a large saucepan and heat to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns brown in 15 seconds. Fry the ribs in small batches until golden brown, then drain on paper towels.
  3. In another large saucepan, combine all the ingredients for the braising mixture. Add the ribs and stir to combine. Pour in enough water to cover by about 5 cm and bring to the boil, skimming off the impurities as they rise to the surface.
  4. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue skimming until no more impurities rise up. Simmer for a further 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender and nearly falling off the bone.
  5. Remove the ribs from the saucepan and keep warm. Pass the braising liquid through a sieve to remove the whole spices and ginger.
  6. Return the liquid to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the spring onion, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the spring onion is tender.
  7. Arrange the ribs on a serving platter. Drizzle with the sauce, garnish with coriander and serve with the chilli on the side.
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