Szechuan Beef Short Ribs

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Szechuan Beef Short Ribs

Szechuan Beef Short Ribs

Tender, slow cooked meat that falls off the bone with an aromatic and intense Chinese glaze.


Serves 6

3 tbsp olive oil
1½ tsp Szechuan peppercorns
2cm piece of fresh root ginger
½ orange
1.5kg beef short ribs, cut into individual ribs
150ml Shaoxing rice wine
500ml chicken stock
50ml dark soy sauce
50g palm or brown sugar
1 tbsp chilli bean sauce
3–4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1–2 tsp cornflour (if needed)


  1. Heat the oven to 150ºC/gas mark 2.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over a low heat, add the peppercorns and cook gently for 5–8 minutes until darkened in colour. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Strain, reserving the oil. Using a pestle and mortar, grind the cooled peppercorns to a fine powder and set aside. Peel the ginger and cut into julienne. Finely pare the zest from the ½ orange.
  3. Heat the infused oil in the casserole over a medium to high heat and brown the ribs evenly all over, in batches. When the ribs are all browned, deglaze with the rice wine and add all the other the ingredients (except cornflour), including the browned meat, pepper, ginger and orange zest. Pour over enough water to cover the ribs. Bring to a simmer, then transfer to the oven and cook gently until the meat is very tender and comes away from the bone easily, 2½–3½ hours. Check from time to time to ensure it is not boiling; it should be very gently simmering.
  4. Taste the sauce. It may need to be reduced a little to intensify the flavour, in which case take out the meat and aromatics, discarding the star anise, cinnamon and orange zest. If the sauce already has a strong flavour, then thicken it by slaking a little cornflour into the sauce.
  5. Carefully strip the meat off the bones, keeping it in big pieces and removing any sinew, then gently reheat in the sauce. Serve with steamed Chinese greens and rice.

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