It has to be one of my favorite dishes of all time – braised short ribs, American comfort food for the soul. This is something I just love making at home for my family, and its rich flavor is perfect for the winter. Of course, now that I live in Saigon, I follow the local tradition of making braised dishes for the rainy season – and I use lotus seed puree instead of mashed potatoes.

I learned this recipe from Chef Douglas Dodd and Chef Humberto Contreras during my employment at the Hotel Bel-Air. At first, I had such a hard time cooking the ribs to the right internal temperatures. The trick I picked up there is that by cooking it for a long duration at a moderate temperature in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 287 degrees Fahrenheit, the ribs get to the point where the meat and tendons just fall off the bone.

Once you get that trick in your head, this is a such an easy dish to make – I truly believe anyone can cook up this short ribs dish without too much trouble. If you can’t find American short ribs or Australian beef ribs, you can substitute local short ribs, but the flavor profile won’t be the same as the US variety as the ribs have a much richer flavor due to the high content of marbling fats in the muscle.

As the winter season is approaching in Ho Chi Minh City, I invite all Oi readers to try cooking up some short ribs using this recipe.

BRAISED SHORT RIBS WITH CREAMY LOTUS (SUON BO QUANH LUA HONG)

Serves 2

Ingredients:

Beef short ribs 600 gm

Lotus seed 100 gm

Potato 50 gm

Asparagus 100 gm

Red pepper 1

Yellow pepper 1

Purple taro 1

Guava 2

Celery 50 gm

Onion 1

Carrot 2

Tomato paste 1 tbsp

Red wine ½ cup

Black vinegar 2 tbsp

Honey 1 tbsp

Thyme 1 tsp

Cilantro 1 tbsp

Season the short ribs on both sides with salt and pepper and sear all sides. Put in a pressure cooker with onion, celery, carrot, guava, thyme, cilantro, red wine, black vinegar, tomato paste, honey, and chicken stock. Cook in the pressure cooker for 45 minutes.

Boil salted water with lotus seed and potato until soft, drain & then run through a food mill. Mix in 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp of milk and season to taste.

In a separate pot, blanch asparagus and taro until done. Sautée asparagus, taro, rainbow peppers with ½ tsp of butter and season to taste.

Once short ribs are done, remove beef and run the remaining juice through a chinois and reduce to sauce consistency.

BIO: Vietnamese chef Jack Lee has served a host of Hollywood A-listers from Angelina Jolie to Barbra Streisand, and recently returned to chef for Acacia Veranda Dining (149-151 Nguyen Du, D1). His biography by Oi writer NPD Khanh will be released next year.