In 3 days it will be Christmas Day and I know this isn't a very festive dish, at least in my small town. However, my camera is broken and I am looking back at pictures in my library. I prepared this recipe after my Chinatown tour in Victoria a few weeks back. It was fun to shop at the Chinese grocer with my newly acquired knowledge.
Chef Heidi talked about regular soy sauce and dark soy but I was somehow distracted through that part of the lesson. Let me tell you now that dark is very strongly flavoured. Use it to add flavour and not by the cupful! This stew was still tasty and all the extra sauce was great as a marinade for more ribs and chicken wings.
Rather than buy regular short ribs I purchased the thinly sliced meat from Chinatown. It cooks in a minute but I also like it because it is much lower in fat. Taro is an ugly little root vegetable. It needs to be peeled. When you peel it you will find it is a tad slimy. Don't worry because with cooking that sliminess disappears. The flavour is mild and taro functions like potato. It thickens without changing flavour.
Korean-Style Braised-Short-Rib Stew4 pounds short ribs
1 small bunch scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup garlic cloves, peeled (approximately 2 heads)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems reserved for another use, halved or quartered if large
1 cup jarred water chestnuts
1 cup taro, peeled and cut into large dice (about a 3-inch segment)
1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into large dice (about two carrots)
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about half a squash)
In a blender or food processor, combine scallions, soy sauce, ginger, onion, garlic, sugar, mirin, orange juice and apple juice, then pulse to purée. Add a little water if you need to thin out the sauce so it combines.
Put the puréed sauce in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven with a cover, add 3 cups of water and stir to combine. Put the pot over high heat, and bring to a boil, then add the ribs to the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot.
Cook the ribs for a minimum of 2 hours over low heat, then add the vegetables, replace the cover and simmer for another 30 minutes or so, until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked through.
Adapted from a recipe by Roy Choi that appeared in the New York Times.