I stopped at one of our local Asian stores last week to stock up on a few items one of which included star anise, but they were totally out of that very important ingredient for the pho broth. The owner asked me what I was making then steered me towards a shelf of pho packages and packets blended spices. I came away with 3 of the boxed cubes and wonderful sachet packets of all of the spices on my list that were already measured out and set to go into a slow cooker with a chunk of beef to make the broth. Again laziness struck me and since our taste buds were set for piping hot bowls of pho adorned with fresh veggies and herbs I immediately thought of the containers of frozen ramen broth and I could have jumped for joy knowing that I didn’t have to spend hours and hours waiting for a decent broth.
The first go round I simply added the sachet to 8 cups of ramen ( I know, a serious depletion of ramen broth) and then sliced fresh baby Bok choy, carrots, green onions and mushrooms. I also included leaves of fresh basil, mint and arugula, minced red chili pepper, heaps of fresh bean sprouts and finally cubed seared tofu cubes. Oops, I forgot a very important ingredient…noodles! The store also had prepared pho noodles in the refrigerator so that is what I ended up using instead of dried noodles.
For me a little hoisin sauce and then just a touch of Sriracha sauce…
We were way to busy slurping away to take any pictures… next time
The short ribs recipe came from Fine Cooking and the only change was doubling the recipe. I had Rose’s lime marmalade, but there are several other brands available…if you can’t find it in your local store Amazon carries it of course.
Spicy Slow-Cooked Short Ribs with Lime & Basil
1 Tbs. peanut oil
3 lb. small bone-in beef short ribs
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
6 small fresh hot red chiles, such as Thai bird, stemmed and halved lengthwise
2 medium cloves garlic, quartered
1 3-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup lime marmalade
1/2 cup lower-salt chicken broth
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil leaves; plus small leaves for garnish (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart stovetop-safe slow cooker insert (or in a 12-inch skillet) over medium heat. Add half of the short ribs and brown well, turning once, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining short ribs.
Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chiles, garlic, ginger, thyme, allspice, and nutmeg; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the marmalade and stir until melted. Fit the insert into the slow cooker. (If using a skillet, scrape its contents into a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.)
Stir in the broth and soy sauce. Nestle the short ribs into the sauce, pouring any juice from the bowl on top. Cover and cook until fork-tender, 5 to 6 hours on high or 9 hours on low. (The short ribs can stay on the keep-warm setting for up to 2 hours.)
Use tongs to transfer the short ribs to serving bowls or a platter. Strain the sauce into a fat separator; set aside for a few minutes. Pour the defatted sauce into a 3-quart saucepan, add the vinegar, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Stir in the basil and cook for 1 minute to let the flavors meld. Season to taste with salt and pepper, pour the sauce over the short ribs, garnish with small basil leaves, if using, and serve.