Vietnamese Curry of Beef Short Ribs


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Mr Hong

By Dan Hong

Published 2014

  • About

Vietnamese curry is a much milder affair than its Thai or Indian cousins. Pairing a curry with a baguette is also distinctly Vietnamese. We’ve used beef short ribs here, but any protein is suitable, from chicken legs and lamb shanks to beef shin and even goat.


Curry Paste

  • 400 g (14 oz) red Asian shallots, roughly chopped
  • 125 g ( oz) ginger, roughly chopped
  • 75 g ( oz) fresh turmeric, roughly chopped
  • 100 g ( oz) peeled garlic cloves
  • 4 lemongrass stems, pale part only, finely chopped
  • 250 g (9 oz) small long red chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
  • 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 8 lime leaves


Curry Paste

Put all the ingredients except 100 ml ( fl oz) of the oil and the lime leaves into the bowl of a food processer and whizz until it forms a smooth paste. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a high heat, add the paste and immediately reduce the heat to medium. Add the lime leaves, stirring constantly as the paste may catch on the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the oil starts to separate from the paste. Taste the paste: it is cooked when it no longer tastes of raw garlic or onion.

The Rest

Put the beef short ribs in a heavy stockpot and cover them with cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat then drain as soon as it reaches boiling point, discarding the water. Give the ribs a good wash to remove any bits of scum or impurities, and wash out the pot. Return the ribs to the pot, add the remaining ingredients and 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) water. Give everything a stir and bring to the boil. Once the pot reaches boiling point, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 hours, or until the beef is tender and almost falling off the bone.

Herb Salad

Combine the herbs in a small bowl and dress them with nuoc cham when ready to serve. Present the curry with the herb salad on the side and, ideally, a fresh Vietnamese baguette.