I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Slow Roasted Beef Ribs with Cinnamon

If you haven't figured it out yet, I am a great advocate of the slow cooking method.

There are various methods of slow cooking - you can use an electric slow cooker (ie crock pot), you can slow cook on the stove top in a saucepan, or you can use the oven on a very low heat and cook away all day!  My "partner in crime" that I run with (she makes me!!) vows never to leave the oven on that long to make a dish - but what does she know - she obviously hasn't experienced a slow baked dish!!

I think you have to weigh up the pros and the cons of all the slow cooking methods, and use what you think is appropriate for the dish you are making.  Using a crock pot, as there is no evaporation only condensation, tends to end up with a more "diluted" flavour.  Using the oven, and covering up the dish tightly with foil, results in a more concentrated flavour.  I like all methods, but as I said, it is up to the ingredients and the dish involved, as to which method is best.

The recipe that caught my attention this week said to cook on the stove top for 3 hours.  Once I perused the ingredient list I decided that three hours probably wasn't going to do it.  The main ingredient in this dish was beef brisket.  I recently cooked a beef brisket, and was not that overly enthused with it.  It was tough and not a lot of meat on there compared to the amount of fat.  I headed off to the butcher (a different one from the last brisket) - I had a good chat with my "butcher buddy" - not only did he not have a brisket - but he couldn't get one for a whole week more - this will not do as I have a hankering for this dish now!!!  What he did have on offer however, was beef ribs.  He didn't steer me wrong last time with the Beef Ribs so I thought why not make this recipe with the ribs, and instead of braising on the stove top, slow bake them in the oven.

What is the old saying "A stitch in time saves nine" - well my saying is "A little prep in the morning saves a lot of stress in the evening".

After a long day at rugby in the freezing cold, first watching the game, and then manning the BBQ for the rest of the afternoon, the last thing I felt like doing when I walked in the door was making dinner.

Let me tell you though, the smell that welcomed us was we opened the door last night was wonderful..... imagine cinnamon and star anise - the best part though was that all I had to do now was cut up some greens, and steam some rice.  Too easy!!!!

Slow Roasted Beef Ribs with Cinnamon
Adapted from Booklet in current (June) edition of Good Food Magazine

Serves 5

2kg beef ribs cut into 5cm wide slabs, then cut in half
1 1/2 cups Shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
1 cup light soy sauce
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sliced ginger (approx 5cm long piece)
8 cloves grlic, crushed
4 green onions, trimmed, cut into thirds
1 tsp sesame oil
2 long cinnamon quills
5 star anise
2 carrots, halved, chopped into 1 cm pieces
1 daikon, peeled, halved, chopped into chunks

Place the ribs in a large saucepan.  Cover with water.  Bring to the boil on high heat.  Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.  Drain.  Rinse under cold water.  Drain well.

Preheat oven to 110 - 120 degrees (non fan forced).

Place the shaoxing wine, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, green onions, oil, cinnamon and star anise in a large saucepan.  Add 2 litres of water and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Place the ribs, diced carrot and daikon in the base of a very large baking dish.  Pour over the wine mixture. You may not be able to add all the mixture to the pan, reserve what you can't fit in.  It think I ended up putting in around 1 litre of the liquid to start and then about another cup full at around the 7 hours cooking stage.

Cover the dish tightly with several layers of foil.

Bake in the oven for approximately 9 hours, or until the meat is very tender.  Try to resist the urge to take a peek - believe me the liquid will last in there.  I checked at around the 7 hour mark, and added a little more liquid, but I could have probably got away with leaving it as it was.

Serve with steamed asian greens and steamed jasmine rice.

This dish was glorious - the flavours were so well developed, having bubbled away all day.  The beef was sooo tender - it was my idea of heaven.  Just what you need after a day out in the cold.

As an ending to this story I have to tell you about my trials and tribulations of finding daikon.

I live in an area that is fairly well inhabited with asian people, and therefore we have several asian grocery stores in the neighbourhood.  I have learned a lesson though - just because the ingredient you seek is "asian" doesn't necessarily mean that at the asian supermarket they will know exactly what you are looking for.  Now when I am looking for something a bit different I tend to google images as well - so that I at least know what the particular ingredient looks like.

I googled daikon

This is what they look like.

Do you think I could find them, do you think I could find anyone that knew what they were????  I had soooo many suggestions along the way as to what I could use instead of daikon - winter melon, hairy melon, parsnip, white radish.... oh the experts I met along the way.  I heard about what someones grandmother would use....... Everyone tried to be really helpful.  Eventually someone told me that they thought the daikon was a korean ingredient - the lightbulb then went on..... I knew where there was a korean supermarket - and guess what ???? They had daikon!!!!! The day is saved!!!

Would the dish have been any different without the daikon - possibly not - but it did add a little extra chunkiness to the end dish!.

Dear Readers I would love to hear your trials and tribulations of finding those "exotic" ingredients - how do you go about finding them?  Do you google images so you know what you are looking for - do you seek out an "expert" to help you.  I think at one stage yesterday I had everyone in the supermarket checkout line offering me advice of some kind (helpful or not!!!).


  1. this looks soooo good, i can imagine that smell. we had the funniest experience a few years ago (ok probably 10) when we lived in newcastle and went to the only asian grocer looking for shrimp paste, they couldn't speak english and it was hilarious trying to communicate it, Eventually we found a paste and a picture of a prawn and that got the message across. Then she preceded to tell us with hand actions that it really stank but if we put hot water on it then it smelt and tasted good! I will never forget that day :)

  2. I always google everything! Love the look of those ribs - they must've been absolutely delish! Good going with the Daikon too!

    Can I invite myself over for dinner one day? ;)

  3. I can almost smell the beef & spices.

  4. Its also possible that the Asian community knows Daikon by a different name. In the U.K, the South Asian community knows it by 'Mooli'.
    My mother grew some in pots this year, I am hoping to do so next year so I can cook with it.

  5. They sound really delicious - I bet the cinnamon gives it such a nice flavor.