Braised beef ribs with sweet fish sauce

Braised beef ribs with sweet fish sauce

New Thai Food
Jeremy Simons

Beef shin or flank also works well in place of the beef ribs.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg good-quality beef ribs
500ml coconut cream
500ml Chicken stock
4 cm piece fresh galangal, peeled and chopped
100ml oyster sauce
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 lemongrass stem
100ml fish sauce
100g palm sugar, shaved
1 red asian shallot, sliced, to garnish
5g coriander leaves, to garnish
5g mint leaves, to garnish
5g flat-leaf coriander leaves, shredded, to garnish
1 quantity Nahm pla prik, to serve

Sweet fish sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 x 500 g disc palm sugar, crushed
1 lemongrass stem, bruised along its length
1/2 red onion, sliced
4 kaffir lime leaves
2.5 cm piece fresh galangal, sliced
4 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned
100ml Tamarind
100ml fish sauce


  1. To make the sweet fish sauce, melt the palm sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add 60 ml water to help break down the sugar. Simmer until dissolved, then add the lemongrass, onion, lime leaves, galangal and coriander roots and bring to the boil. Cook for about 10–12 minutes until the sugar is lightly caramelised. The ingredients will release some water into the mixture, so keep reducing until the sugar thickens again. Reduce the heat, stir in the tamarind and fish sauce, taking care as the mixture will spit. Mix well and remove from the heat immediately. Strain, then set aside to cool. It should have a honey-like consistency and taste sweet, salty and sour. If it has solidified by the time you’re ready to serve, return the sauce to the heat, add a little more fish sauce and tamarind and allow to soften again.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the ribs in a deep braising pan.
  3. Combine the coconut cream, chicken stock, galangal, oyster sauce, lime leaves and lemongrass in a large heavy-based saucepan over a high heat and bring to the boil. Season with the fish sauce and palm sugar. You’re looking for a tasty base.
  4. Pour the braising liquid over the beef, cover with a lid or baking paper and aluminium foil and braise in the oven for 1½–2 hours. Remove from the oven and let the ribs cool in the liquid.
  5. Transfer the ribs to a plate and refrigerate to set the meat before grilling. Strain and reserve the braising liquid for another use – it can be reduced for a sauce or as a base for a curry.
  6. Heat a hotplate or chargrill pan on medium–high. Place the ribs on the hotplate or chargrill pan and cook until caramelised on the outside, for about 6 minutes on each side.
  7. Place the ribs on a serving plate, drizzle over the sweet fish sauce and garnish with the shallot, coriander, mint and flat-leaf coriander. Serve with the nahm pla prik on the side.


  • You could season the reserved braising liquid, shred the beef back into it, reheat and serve as a soup.
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