A recent lip-smacking (and pot-sticker fuelled) spot of dinner at South China Dim Sum Bar in Long Street had me heading home, not only with a happy belly but armed with a lightning bolt of inspiration.
It strikes in many ways; sometimes from a book, a website, an aroma or even a picture, but that night, it came in the form of an experience involving finger-licking, sticky, beef short ribs which quite literally fell off the bone.
Lip-smacking, finger licking:
The umami-rich sauce which soaked the steamed rice was to put it plainly, like a party in my mouth.
The flavours gave my taste buds immense pleasure but left me with a serious addiction. I simply had to recreate it so I could unashamedly indulge in my newfound pleasure in the comfort of my own home (feel free to judge).
The best part of this recipe is that it uses short ribs, which are so affordable.
It’s a cut that few have the patience for (it requires TLC and a long cooking time), but the secret is to simmer them slowly and they’ll make you weak at the knees.
Another secret to this recipe is the presence of star anise.
My future husband (ahem), Heston Blumenthal is mad about the spice and names it as one of his favourites.
He also preaches the wonder of star anise in that it has a particularly wonderful affinity to meat (much like my affinity for Heston) and makes these beef ribs taste incredibly meaty and moreish, even though they don’t actually carry much meat.
Quite clever really!
Once you’ve given the sticky star anise beef short ribs recipe a go, have a look at the many wonderful things you can serve the sticky ribs with as well as a few clever (if I say so myslef) ways to turn leftovers into a delicious version 2.0.
Spring onion pancakes with sticky beef:
Combine 1 cup rice flour, a pinch of salt, ½ cup coconut milk, ½ cup water and 6 eggs and whisk until smooth.
Stir in 2 finely sliced spring onions. Heat a non-stick frying pan and pour the mixture into the hot pan, swirling to cover the base.
Fry on each side until golden then top with the leftover shredded beef and fold into quarters.
Repeat with the remaining mixture. Serve with a cucumber relish made by mixing 1 cup julienned or chopped cucumber, 1 tbsp rice vinegar and 1 tsp castor sugar.
Crispy beef wontons:
Brush 12 wonton wrappers with oil and press into small muffin tins.
Bake at 180ºC for about 10 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Remove the meat from the leftover ribs and shred it then reheat and fill the cups.
Sprinkle the wonton cups with toasted cashew nuts and chopped coriander.
Sticky beef pot pie:
Shred the beef from the bones and combine with the sauce.
Place in small ramekins. Roll out a sheet of store-bought puff pastry and cut out discs the size of the ramekins.
Place each disc on top of the ramekins to form a lid and prick a hole in the middle to allow steam to escape.
Brush with 1 beaten egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake at 200C for 10-15 minutes or until golden.
Katelyn Williams writes the beautiful blog The Kate Tin. Follow her on Twitter.