The key to meltingly tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs is to cook them twice. The chilling time allows the meat to absorb the flavours in the stock and makes it easy to remove all the fat that renders out during cooking. The ribs can be served plain or as I did, topped with crispy fried shallots, sliced red chilli and red onions and lots of coriander.
1½ kilograms beef short ribs
½ cup oyster sauce
¼ cup kecap manis
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons black vinegar
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
3cm piece skin-on ginger, sliced thickly
2–3 teaspoons cornflour
1 tablespoon water
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated finely
1 garlic clove, peeled and grated finely
toasted shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Combine all the ingredients, except the beef, in a bowl.
Cut the beef into individual ribs if in one large piece.
Place the ribs meat side down in a deep roasting dish large enough to hold the ribs in one layer. Pour over the sauce, distributing the aromatics evenly. Cover the meat with a piece of baking paper then cover tightly with foil.
Braise for 2–3 hours until the meat is very tender when pierced with a skewer.
Uncover and turn the ribs meat side up then bake for a further 30 minutes until browned.
Carefully remove the ribs and place in a large shallow dish, taking care as the meat can easily fall off the bone. Cool the ribs and cooking stock separately then cover and refrigerate.
Lift off the layer of fat that solidifies on top of the stock and any that has set around the meat and discard.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Place the stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Combine the cornflour and water until smooth then stir into the sauce and simmer for 3 minutes. Put the ribs in a roasting dish and pour over the sauce, turning to coat. Cover tightly with foil and cook for about one hour or until they are piping hot all the way through to the bone.
Rice: Put the rice, water, ginger and garlic in a medium saucepan with a pinch of salt. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 18 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave for 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork and stir through the coconut.