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Tuesday Project: Momofuku’s Asian Braised Short Ribs

For Christmas, I received a jar of David Chang’s Momofuku Asian Braising Sauce, a “savory-sweet blend of soy, mirin, and fresh pear, with a hint of peppery spice.” Despite the name Momofuku meaning “lucky peach,” the flavor does hint more of pear as the description notes. All in all, it is an intoxicating marinade for all manners of braised meats. I can imagine a luscious pork belly slathered with this sauce à la Momofuku Ssam Bar’s pork belly buns or an excellent braised lamb shoulder, or even slowly braised chicken.

The recipe on the jar though from David Chang, the chef and owner of the emerging Momofuku empire in New York and now expanded to Sydney, is for a 6 person feast of Asian Braised Short Ribs.

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

6 bone-in beef short ribs, 3 to 3 1/4 lb. total

1 carrot, peeled and cut into 5 pieces

1 yellow onion (or any onion…) quartered

8 green onions, white portion only, cut into 2-inch pieces

4 garlic cloves

1 jar Momofuku Asian Braising Sauce

2 cups water

Start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees. In a large dutch oven, or in our case a casserole pot, warm the oil at medium high heat. The oil then is used to brown the short ribs on all sides in 2 batches, each batch for roughly 8-10 minutes, though we barely needed even 8 minutes. Don’t worry, there is plenty of braising time for the short ribs to cook…After browning the short ribs, place them on a separate plate.

Meanwhile, place the garlic, onions, and carrots into the pot. It’s up to you whether or not to sauté the onions and carrots prior to adding the short ribs to their pot. We elected not to sauté them, knowing that the onions and carrots would be plenty soft after hours of braising. However, you’ll miss out on a nice caramelized flavor for the onions and carrots if they aren’t pre-sautéed for the suggested 6-8 minutes. Do be sure that the chopped garlic is caramelized before adding to the pot. We’re not looking for a Stinking Rose type of braise…

Add the short ribs, water, and the sauce to the pot, bringing the pot to a simmer. Then cover the pot, transfer it to the heated oven, and let it all bake together for roughly 4 hours, until the short ribs are perfectly tender, falling off the bones. Skim the fat off, transfer the ribs to a plate, and serve with the sauce on top. Chang suggests serving with steamed rice. We decided to go for some steamed vegetables to absorb the sauce, along with some fresh bread for mopping up duty.

This was honestly one of the most delicious items we’ve cooked at home. And it’s remarkably easy to do, as long as you remember to put the ribs into the oven a good 4 hours before dinner. The only challenge may lie in the browning of short ribs…not the hardest of tasks by any stretch. Next time we’d probably sauté the onions and carrots, but that certainly was not something that affected the final dish.

Those pork belly rolls are addicting at Momofuku Ssam and so was one of the finest octopus dishes I’ve ever tried. I doubt I could replicate them at home, but these short ribs with the sensational sauce are Momofuku addicting quality and easy for the home cook to replicate. It’s perfect for a leisurely Sunday dinner with a bottle of fruit forward, heavy, but not tannin-filled red, such as a younger, brighter cabernet sauvignon, or a syrah.

Enjoy! I can’t wait to try this again! Hopefully Chang comes out with more sauces and delicious, straight-forward recipes for us to use as projects in the future.

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