Shanghai Style Braised Beef Short Ribs

From Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration

2009 Sep/Oct

Susanna Foo is a Philadelphia restaurateur who serves contemporary Chinese food.


  • 4 lbs. beef short ribs, bone-in (bones provide good flavour), cut into 3-rib strips
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 c. sak√©, gin or brandy
  • 1/2 c. tawny port
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. sherry wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 5 star anise pods
  • 1 long cinnamon stick
  • juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 T . brown sugar


Make this the day before eating.

Trim some of the fat from the ribs. If you get ribs that are cut into one-rib chunks, trim most of the fat, even if you have to separate the meat parts. The meat will become so tender when it cooks that it will fall off the bone anyway.

Put the short ribs, ginger, spirits, soy sauce, vinegar, star anise and cinnamon into a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover tightly with the lid, and simmer for 4 to 5 hours, until the meat is very tender and falling off the bone. Turn the ribs from time to time so all sides cook in the sauce.

Remove the ribs to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Pour the sauce into another bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

About an hour before serving, remove the layer of fat from the sauce and reheat sauce and ribs, covered, in a pot for about 30 minutes, along with the lemon juice, zest and brown sugar. Remove the lid and cook another 30 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit. Serve the ribs and sauce over Creamy Coconut Polenta (below). Serves 4 to 6.