Boiled and Spiced Short Rib of Beef


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • for


    as a main course

Appears in

New Wave Asian: A Guide to the Southeast Asian Food Revolution

New Wave Asian

By Sri Owen

Published 2002

  • About

Regrettably, ‘short rib of beef is a cut that British butchers no longer supply, so when I am in Britain I use flank instead. It is a perfectly adequate substitute but if you can find short rib use it for this dish. It is equally good hot or cold, accompanied by a cold potato salad or piping-hot fried rice or pasta.


  • 675–900 g/ 1½–2 lb short rib or flank of beef, cut into pieces 5–7.5 cm/ 2–3 in long and about 2.5–3.5 cm/1–1½ in thick
  • 1 lemon grass stalk, cut across into 3 pieces
  • 2.5 cm/1 in piece of galangal, peeled
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 4 red chillies, deseeded and cut into 3 pieces
  • 4 green chillies, deseeded and cut into 3 pieces
  • 6 shallots or 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp crumbled shrimp paste
  • 4 tbsp tamarind water
  • 1 tsp salt


Put the meat in a large pan with 1.1-1.4 litres/ 2-2 ½ pints of cold water. Add the lemon grass, galangal and lime leaves. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat so the water is just bubbling a little. Cook at this rate for 50 minutes, skimming often.

By now the water will have reduced considerably. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to simmer gently for another 20-25 minutes. The broth will now be quite thick. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. Continue cooking for 5-10 minutes longer. Serve straight away, or leave to get cold and serve as described above.


If you are cooking this well in advance and want to serve it hot, just heat the meat by grilling or barbecuing. Heat the thick sauce in a saucepan, then brush the sauce on the meat while it is on the grill or barbecue. If you want more sauce, Peanut Sauce is an excellent choice.