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Celebrity Chefs, Dinner Tonight, Food + Recipes

Eat + Repeat: Nigella’s Asian Flavoured Short Ribs

March 31, 2020
simply nigella asian flavoured short ribs

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You never know when you’ll discover one of those genius recipes that’s so satisfying that everyone wants to eat it again and again. I scored when I tried this Nigella Lawson recipe for Asian Flavoured Short Ribs from her cookbook Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food.*

Nigella Lawson forever summer book

Photo credit: Maria Hunt

I interviewed Nigella years ago when she was on a press trip for her book Forever Summer*. She was smart, engaged and lovely all around. She was plenty striking too, with black hair and a pale yet rosy complexion that defined peaches and cream. I don’t recall her outfit, but I do remember her aquamarine ring with a stone the size of a medjool date for what at the time was her secret engagement to Charles Saatchi. Most of all, I liked her down-to-earth approach to baking and cooking and her deliciously original recipes that cut out all the unnecessary steps, because who wants to spend extra time in the kitchen? (If you love baking, you’ll adore her first book, How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking.)

This recipe calls out beef short ribs, but I’ve remade it with boneless pork ribs and a beef chuck roast and it was still delicious. And the sauce is so flavorful, it can revive those meats you’re unearthing from the deep freeze right about now.

She recommends serving these short ribs with brown rice and green beans. But they’re also good with potato salad, pureed sweet potatoes or a spinach salad tossed with sesame dressing. Beverage Pairing: Since they have a little spice, these short ribs will be wonderful with a richer malty Belgian dubbel ale or any off-dry (slightly sweet) sparkling wine such as the delicious red Ottouve Gragnano from Italy.

Nigella’s Asian Flavoured Short Ribs

SERVES 6-8

5 lbs. beef short ribs

1 cup hoisin sauce

2 cups water

4 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 cup Chinese (Shaoxing) rice wine

2 tablespoons Chinese 5-spice powder

1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

4 fat cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced

TO SERVE

1 fresh red chili, finely chopped

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3-4 limes, cut into wedges

● Preheat the oven to 300 Fahrenheit. Place the short ribs into a large pan.

● Mix together all the remaining ingredients and pour over the ribs.

● Cover with a layer of baking parchment or greaseproof paper, tucking it in tightly to seal as best you can, before putting on a lid, or cover the top of the pan with foil and seal the edges securely. Cook in the oven for 4-4½ hours: the meat should be tender and starting to come away from the bones.

● Transfer the ribs to a vessel that will fit in the fridge later to cool, and then tenderly remove as many of the bones as possible, before covering and refrigerating for at least 1 day, or up to 3 days.

● Before you reheat them, remove the hard layer of fat that will have formed on the top (I do this with my hands, encased in a pair of disposable vinyl gloves, CSI-style), transfer to a large ovenproof dish that you can also serve the ribs in–I use a ceramic dish–and reheat, covered with foil or a lid, depending on what you’re cooking in, at 400 Fahrenheit for 1 hour, or until piping hot. (MH Note: I reheated them under a low broiler because I think oven ribs need some crispy edges.)

● Scatter some finely chopped red pepper and cilantro over the ribs on serving, and put some lime wedges on the table so that everyone can squeeze this sour juice into their rich, sweet stew, to taste.

Adapted from the Simply Nigella recipe on Daily Mail Online.

Photo credit: Simply Nigella

 

 

 

Celebrity Chefs, Food + Recipes

Harold McGee, Keys to Good Cooking and Kokumi

November 2, 2010

Hal McGee spoke on the taste map, kokumi and the futility of searing to seal in a steak’s juices at Omnivore Books last night.

You may know Harold McGee as the father of modern food science, or maybe as the Curious Cook in New York Times columns on how to make better bread with less kneading or why some of us detest cilantro. As a food writer, I admire him for those things too.

But we share this weird Gilligan’s Island-like bond, since we were marooned together along with a group of foodies at the American Chemical Society estate in Baltimore on Sept. 11, 2001.

So when I saw that McGee would be talking about his new book Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Food & Recipes at Omnivore Books in San Francisco’s Noe Valley, I decided to drop by.

He told a packed room he set out to be an astronomer and ended up as a gastronomer after getting to cherry- pick the science classes he wanted at Caltech. His first tome On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen is a fascinating exploration of the ways chemistry explains why foods rise and brown – or not – in the kitchen. The new book is organized to be a cooks companion in case you’re trying to figure out how to make a meringue behave.

McGee, who lives near the bookstore, shared that his favorite cookbooks include The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers and Chez Panisse Cooking by Paul Bertolli.

The best part of the night was the question and answer session. Now that you’ve gotten your head around the Japanese concept of savoriness called umami found in dashi broth, Parmigiano-Reggiano and tomatoes, get ready for its cousin kokumi. The latter is a sort of delicious sensation of mouth-fillingness. McGee says both seem to be related to the breakdown of proteins.

The tongue map you think you know is wrong. We can taste sweet, salty, sour and bitter any place we have taste buds, but there are certain tastes that are more intense on some parts of the tongue.

Think searing a steak or cooking meat in a wet preparation will keep it more moist? Sorry, those are kitchen myths not based in science. Want to know how to ensure a juicy steak, whip up fluffy eggs and moist muffins? For that you have to buy the book.

 

© 2010 Maria Hunt aka The Bubbly Girl