Tinola is Filipino comfort food and perfect for cooler weather. This hearty chicken soup features a gingery broth that is so warming and smells amazing! Each bowl contains a whole piece of chicken and tender chunks of green papaya; a scoop of steamed rice is read more
Tis the season to treat yourself and loved ones to a special occasion meal. These Braised Short Ribs look so impressive and are so full of rich, wintry flavors-like oranges and a sweet hoisin sauce- that your guests will have no idea they took only 20 minutes of hands on time. They taste even better the next day, making them ideal for a carefree dinner party. Beef is a bit pricey these days, but it’s the holidays, so let’s splurge together!
Secrets to a Great Braise
Braising is an easy way to coax tender flavor from tougher cuts of meat, but there are some secrets to creating a really great braise:
- using a heavy pot or dutch oven that maintains a steady heat
- getting a good sear on all sides of the meat; don’t overcrowd the pan and don’t rush this step
- deglazing the pan to get all those yummy browned bits into the sauce
- using deeply flavorful liquids to create a rich sauce
- adding aromatics like ginger, orange zest, cinnamon sticks really amps up the flavor
Sear the Short Ribs
I start making braised short ribs by getting a really good sear on all sides of the short ribs. A proper sear adds so much flavor, both to the meat itself and the sauce. Plus it makes the meat an attractive bronzed color. Sear the ribs in batches. Too many at once causes steam that prevents the nice brown crust we are looking for.
When all the ribs are seared, keep them in a bowl and heat more oil in the same pot. Now we sauté all the aromatics to make an umami rich sauce for the short ribs.
And at this point, all the hands on work is done, and we let time and low heat work their magic. After about an hour and a half, the meat should be fork tender. If not let it go for another 15-20 minutes. The sauce will be dark and glossy and so fragrant! I like to add some fresh orange zest curls as a garnish.
This lusty dish deserves some equally sexy costars:
- My Ginger Saketinis are the perfect adult beverage pairing
- Mushroom Dumplings for a fun starter
- Miso Maple Squash is a wonderfully seasonal side
- Vanilla Poached Fruit rounds out this stress free, largely make ahead, meal
Give these delectable Braised Short Ribs a try and let me know what you think. Rate and leave a comment, and tag us in your holiday feasts @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- 3 pounds boneless beef short ribs (also known as boneless flanken short ribs or boneless chuck short ribs)
- 3 Tablespoons neutral oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 inch piece of ginger, sliced
- 2 dried arbol chiles
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- ½ cup hoisin sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup oyster sauce
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup mirin
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
- Trim the beef of any thick exterior fat and gristle. Cut the beef into 3-4 pieces. Set aside.
- Heat a dutch oven or deep heavy skillet over medium high heat for several minutes. Add 1 Tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the pot.
- Add half of the beef to the pan, making sure the beef pieces do not touch and you are not crowding the pan.
- Cook the beef for 1-2 minutes untouched so that there is a nice dark brown sear. Turn the beef onto another side and again cook for 1-2 minutes. Repeat this for at least 1-2 more sides making sure each side has a good dark crust. Do not rush.
- Set the beef aside in a bowl and repeat with the remaining beef.
- Add the final tablespoon of oil to the pot and add the onions, ginger, garlic cloves, and chiles. Saute for 1 minute and then add the cinnamon stick and star anise. Continue cooking for another minute.
- Peel the zest off of the orange, excluding as much of the bitter white pith as possible.
- Wrap the onion and garlic spice mixture along with the orange peel in a piece of cheesecloth about 12” x 16” and tie it to close.
- Put the beef back into the pan along with any accumulated juices and put the cheesecloth pouch on top.
- Add the sauce and water to the pot. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium high heat and stir to blend all of the sauce ingredients, scraping the bottom to get all of the browned bits.
- Then cover the pot with a lid and lower the heat to medium low.
- Cook for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. Use a fork to check the beef. It should slide into the beef easily. If not, then cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.
- Transfer the meat to a large platter. Turn the heat up to medium high and reduce the sauce for 5-10 minutes until it is thick and syrupy. Pour the sauce over the meat.
- Serve immediately.
*Like all braised dishes, this beef is even better on the second day. Leftovers keep in the fridge for several days. You can also freeze leftovers. Defrost in the fridge overnight and then warm over medium heat for 8-10 minutes.
Keywords: beef, short ribs, hoisin sauce, holiday meals, braise
I don’t mean to alarm you, but the holidays are right around the corner. And that means trying to come up with menus for multiple holiday dinners. I always like to serve the expected favorites, but I also like to shake things up a little and experiment with something new. This year, that’s going to be my twist on Poached Fruit. A mix of late summer and early fall fruits, this Poached Fruit is amazing just served on top of ice cream, or to dress up a pound cake.
It even works at breakfast the next morning, if you ended up making too many dishes for dinner (or is that just me?). Served with yogurt or oatmeal, it’s pretty amazing. And since Poached Fruit is the poster child for make ahead food, you can make it several days ahead and let it hang out in the fridge while you continue on with other preparations. Bathed in a dreamy syrup fragranced with Asian standbys like ginger and star anise, this Poached Fruit is ready to be a glamourous showstopper at your next holiday gathering. (We won’t tell anyone that it takes just about a half hour to make…)
Poached Fruit Syrup
This syrup is so delicious! I’m actually thinking of saving some next time to make cocktails. And making it couldn’t be easier: just simmer the spices with water and sugar so the syrup becomes highly flavored. If you’re using a whole vanilla bean, split it with a sharp knife down the middle and scrape out the seeds. You can use 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste or even vanilla extract instead. If you’re using extract, it’s best to add it at the very end as the flavor can disappear if you add it at the beginning.
While the syrup is simmering, it’s time to prepare the fruit. I made this using a mix of fruit available right now. Late summer/early fall means there are still good stone fruits around, but also pears and figs are coming in. You really can make this with nearly any fruit that you like and that looks good. Since the fruit will be poached, firmer, not quite ripe fruit works best. The poaching process will render it lusciously soft and tender. Too ripe and it will fall apart when poached.
I start by peeling the peaches/nectarines. Their skins tend to peel off while poaching so I find it nicer to just remove it. The easiest way to do this is to cut an x on the bottom the fruit, and then blanch. The peels slip right off. (This is also a great way to peel tomatoes)
I prep the pears last, so they don’t have a chance to turn brown.
Poached pears are so beautiful, I like to make sure I have half a pear for each person for the prettiest presentation. My pears were tiny, so cutting them if half was perfect but if you have very large ones, consider cutting then in quarters to keep all of your fruit around the same size.
Once all the fruit is prepped, it’s time to poach! Bring the syrup back to a simmer over medium heat. Begin by poaching the pears first, as they are the firmest and need the longest cooking time.
Once all the fruit is tender, your Poached Fruit is done. Just cool in its syrup to room temperature and refrigerate. This can be made a couple of days before, making it an ideal holiday dessert. If you have any leftover, try it spooned on top of oatmeal, or even as a side to a savory main dish like Char Sui BBQ Pork. Please take a moment to rate and comment on the recipe below, we love hearing from you! And don’t forget to tag us in your pics at funkyasiankitchen.
For the Syrup:
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 star anise
- 1 ½ inch piece of ginger
- 2 peaches/nectarines, a little firm
- 2 plums, a little firm
- 2 small pears, a little firm (I used bartlett but bosc would be good too)
Yogurt, sour cream, or vanilla ice cream
Make the syrup:
- Cut the ginger into several slices.
- Combine the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, star anise, and the ginger in a pot and bring to a simmer over high heat.
- Cover with a lid, lower heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the fruit.
For the Fruit:
- Wash all fruit.
- Score the tip end of the peaches/nectarines with a small x. Bring a small pot of water to boil and submerge them in the boiling water for 10 seconds.
- Take them out of the pot and dunk into cold water. Let it sit a couple minutes to cool. Peel the peaches, starting where you made the X, and then cut the fruit into halves (or quarters if very large) and remove the seeds. Set aside.
- Cut the plums into halves and remove the seeds. Set aside.
- Peel the pears then cut the pears in half and then scoop out the seeds. I used a tomato corer so it looks neat but you can also use a paring knife. Next, trim the base and cut out the inner stem. Set aside in a bowl of water. (Prepare the pears last so they do not oxidize).
- Bring the syrup to a simmer over medium high heat. Add the pears, cover with the lid, and lower the heat to medium.
- Simmer the pears gently for 10-12 minutes until you can slip a knife tip easily into the pear. Add the peaches, plums, and figs, and replace the lid.
- Simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes until the fruit is fully cooked and tender. Cool the fruit in the syrup until it is room temperature and then refrigerate.
- Serve cold with yogurt, sour cream, or some ice cream.
*There will be plenty of syrup left for the amount of fruit. Consider using it to sweeten some hot tea, as a base for a fall cocktail, or poured over some hot cereal.
*The fruit can be made ahead and will keep several days in the fridge.
Keywords: holiday desserts, asian sweets, fruit desserts, fall fruits