Asian sticky beef ribs recipe

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  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings


  • 4 lb 8 oz (2 kg) beef short ribs (cut as racks)
For the Marinade
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Seeds of 2 black cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • ½ nutmeg, grated
  • ½ tsp long pepper spike, finely grated (optional)
  • 2¼ oz (60 g) fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
  • 2¾ oz (75 g) soft brown sugar
  • 1 orange juice and zest
  • 2 red finger chillies, cut into thin discs, seeds and all
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bruised, then halved lengthways
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp freshly made espresso coffee
  • 4 fl oz (125 ml) tamari or light soy sauce
  • 3½ oz (100 g) black treacle
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 4 fl oz (125 ml) rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 fl oz (125 ml) water
  • 4 fl oz (125 ml) dry sherry
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
For the Dipping Sauce
  • 7 fl oz (200 ml) full-fat yogurt
  • 3½ fl oz (100 ml) crème fraîche
  • 1 lime juice
  • 2 tsp tamari or light soy sauce
How to Make It
  1. Finely grind the star anise, cinnamon, cardamom seeds and black peppercorns using a mortar and pestle. Add the grated nutmeg and long pepper, if using.
  2. Put the spices and all the remaining marinade ingredients into a large non-metallic bowl and stir thoroughly to combine. Add the ribs, cover and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn the ribs over once or twice during this time so that everything is well coated.
  3. The next day, preheat the oven to 160°C (gas mark 3). Put the ribs into a roasting tin, pour over the marinade, then cover tightly with foil and put onto the middle shelf of the oven to cook for 3 hours.
  4. After 3 hours, the racks should be floppy. If they’re not, return them to the oven for another 20 minutes or so.
  5. Remove the racks from the roasting tin and set them aside on a plate.
  6. Pour all the juices through a sieve into a saucepan, put over a medium heat, bring up to a bubble, then gently reduce to a syrupy consistency – a bit like runny honey. Set aside and keep warm.
  7. Preheat your grill to high. Put the racks under the grill and cook until they start to sizzle. Remove them from the heat, brush generously with the reduced marinade, then pop them back under the grill until they start to spit, char and caramelise slightly.
  8. In a small bowl, mix all the dipping sauce ingredients, pour into a serving dish and set aside.
  9. Cut the racks into individual ribs. Pour the remaining marinade onto a warmed serving platter and put the ribs on top. Sprinkle the fresh coriander, chilli and spring onions over the ribs and sauce, and serve immediately.

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