Beer-braised short ribs are seasoned with exotic Malaysian meat curry powder and are finished with a touch of coconut milk to create a luxurious sauce.
To start, trim off any silver skin from the ribs. Rub the ribs with the meat curry powder. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or even overnight.
Once you are ready to start cooking the ribs, prepare the rest of your mise en place.
Roughly chop the onion, garlic and ginger. Gather the beer, stock, soy sauce and the kaffir lime leaves and set everything aside.
Next, place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 200º degrees Fahrenheit (or 95º degrees Celsius).
To brown (sear) the ribs, heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium to medium-high heat. If needed, pat the ribs dry but be careful to not rub off the spices. Once the pot is hot, add the oil and brown the ribs in a single layer. Brown each side for about 3 or 4 minutes. Use tongs to turn the ribs and once the ribs are completely browned, transfer them to a plate.
To cook the dish, pour off and discard any excess fat from the pot. Next, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté the onions until they soften and start to brown, about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and ginger. Stir and cook until fragrant, about a minute or so.
Next, deglaze with the beer. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Let cook for about 2 minutes, scraping up any of the browned and caramelized bits from the bottom of the pot. Then pour in the stock and soy sauce and bring the liquid to a simmer. Add the kaffir lime leaves and return the ribs to the pot.
The liquid should rise at least two-thirds the way up the ribs. If it doesn’t, simply add a bit more beer or stock. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid and place into the oven for about 2 to 3 hours. Turning the ribs every hour or so.
Once the ribs are fork tender, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a plate. Cover and keep warm while you finish the sauce.
To prepare the sauce, strain the braising liquid into a bowl. Remove the excess fat by spooning off as much as you can from the surface. (Alternatively you can make the ribs ahead and cool the dish in the refrigerator overnight. This will make the fat much easier to remove.)
Once the fat has been removed, pour the sauce back into a pot and taste it. If you feel the flavors need to be more concentrated, reduce the sauce. Let the sauce simmer and reduce until you are happy with the flavor.
Once you are happy with the flavor, you can thicken the sauce, if desired. Whisk in the slurry (cornstarch mixed with a bit of water), a bit at a time, letting the sauce come back to a simmer each time before adding more. Once you reached the desired consistency, turn the heat to low.
To finish the sauce, add the palm sugar, tamarind paste, sambal oelek and fish sauce. To enrich the sauce, you can add a bit of coconut milk. Let this simmer gently for a few minutes and then add the ribs back to the sauce. If you like, you can first remove the meat from the bones and break into pieces. Any excess fat can also be removed, if desired.
Once everything is nice and hot, squeeze some fresh lime juice over top just before serving. These ribs go particularly well with coconut-infused jasmine rice (recipe below).