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Braised Beef Short Ribs with Vanilla Glazed Carrots and Parmesan Mash.


Origin: This recipe belongs to Ana Sortum of Oleana fame in Boston and is unequivocally the best meal I have ever eaten in my life! We left the restaurant amazed at how beautiful each dish was with her signed book  ‘Spice’ proudly under arm. Can you believe that every single dish she serves at Oleana is in the book!

And so I set about trying to make what I was concerned would perhaps be one of those too hard to make, Master Chef meals. To my suprise it is actually so easy to make that even Caroline, my wonderful cook at home, now makes it for our family dinner, without having to refer to the recipe.

It is necessary, however to ensure  that you have the correct cut of meat, the Tamarind and if at all possible the vanilla pod for the carrots. I had to use vanilla essence as there were no pods to be found this day!

The ribs are like a decadent pot roast: they are soft, sweet and tart from the balsamic and tamarind, a Middle Eastern and Asian fruit that brightens a slowly braised dish.

Short ribs are one of the cheapest cuts of meat around, and look fatty and boney, but trust me the flavor of the meat is unlike any other cut. Ask the butcher to cut them into quite thick chunks if he can. It seems a lot of meat, but you are going to discard all the bones and fat in the end and just be left with the juicy meat.

NOTE: Tamarind paste is essential and is available at any curry or spice shop.

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Vanilla Glazed Carrots.

( Serves 8  )

2 .5  kg’s beef short rib                                           

 1 large onion peeled and roughly chopped

4 Tablespoons Maldon Salt                                       

  1 whole carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

3 – 4 bay leaves                                                            

 1 cup (250ml) balsamic vinegar

1 cup (250ml) crisp white wine                                 

½ cup tightly packed of brown sugar

3 – 4 cloves fresh garlic crushed                                2 Tablespoons Tamarind Paste

250ml hot water for the Tamarind                           ½ cup hot water for the carrot

4 – 6 medium carrots peeled                                     juice of half a lemon

3 Tablespoons butter                                                    1 vanilla bean, or 10 ml essence

Salt and pepper to taste                                               


  1.  Preheat the oven to 170 oC.
  2. Season each of the short ribs generously with salt and lay them side by side in a large heavy roasting pan.
  3. Scatter the onion , 1 chopped carrot and the bay leaves over the ribs
  4. Combine the vinegar, wine, brown sugar and garlic and pour over the short ribs.
  5. Place tamarind in a bowl and 1 cup of hot water to dissolve the thick black paste. Once dissolved pour over meat.
  6. The liquid should cove ¾ of the meat. If not add a little water.
  7. Cover roasting dish tightly with tin foil, and a second time with a second layer of foil so that no steam can escape.
  8. Braise in the oven for 3.5 hours. Remove the foil and check that the ribs fall apart when poked with a fork.
  9. Remove ribs only, with tongs, cover and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  10. Strain the remaining liquid through a fine strainer into a large jug.
  11. Chill the jug of liquid for about an hour so that the fat rises to the top and hardens. Remove this thick layer of fat.
  12. While the liquid is cooling in the fridge, prepare the carrots, by peeling, and slicing on the bias into ½ inch thick ovals.
  13. In a sauté pan, melt the butter and split the vanilla bean in half, scraping the insides into the melting butter.
  14. Add the carrots and ½ cup of water. Season with salt and pepper.
  15. Cook until just soft and slightly glazed and glossy. (About 10 minutes)
  16. Add the lemon juice and taste as it may need more seasoning.
  17. Take the cooled short ribs, and remove any solidified fat, and bone shredding the meat into bite size pieces.
  18. Now in a large sauté pan over high heat bring the short rib liquid to the boil and add the short rib meat. Reduce the heat and simmer very slowly for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid almost disappears and is absorbed by the meat, leaving a sticky, glaze as the sauce.
  19. Roll the ribs around in the sauce allowing them to become more glazed and sticky.
  20. Serve with a buttery Parmesan mash, and a little extra sauce poured over a large spoonful of the meat, with the vanilla carrots on the side.

(Note: in the end there should be very little sauce remaining, and it should be a syrup consistency. There should be just enough for two or three spoonfuls for each serving. It is quite a dry looking dish as the ribs should be totally coated and glazed in this thick yummy sauce)

Pictured below – Meat with onions and carrots and then the same with the balsamic, tamarind and wine added.



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