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Nov 3, 2010 11:29 AM

braised short rib thai curry--need advice

I want to do a thai curry (paste, coconut milk) with braised short ribs. I've made plenty of curries, but not with a meat that throws off this much fat, or that needs to stew for hours, so I am not entirely sure what the best method would be. I think that braising the meat in the curry itself would lead toexcellently flavored meat (like rendang), but a terribly greasy, muddled curry sauce that would be difficult to de-grease. So I am thinking I should braise the meat separately and combine the two towards the end. But does that make sense? If so, what to braise the meat in - -basically the same curry flavors and a coconut milk mixture?

Ideas appreciated.

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  1. Definitely do not braise in coconut milk. I made that mistake once and it was REALLY gross - the sauce separated and all the coconut flavor cooked right out. I would braise in curry-flavored broth, or a mixture of broth and wine, then defat the cooking liquid and use it with fresh coconut milk to make the final sauce. Depending on how much curry you use in the braising liquid (and how salty it is), you might be able to reduce it to a nice demi-glace consistency before adding the coconut milk, which would make a thick and richly flavored sauce.

    1. If you want the short ribs as tender as a traditional braise, then braise them in advance and then finish them in the curry. You're right that a coconut milk based curry sauce would break down and separate over the course of a mult-hour long braise.

      I probably wouldn't go too elaborate for the initial braise - i might just use a salt and sugar rub and then braise in a small amount of water or stock. You can even slow roast them dry: - (don't pay too much attention to the seasoning specifics of that recipe
      )Either way, cool em down a bit after cooking and then make the Thai curry in the traditional fashion reheating (and flavoring) the meat in the curry.

      You want the short ribs to taste like short ribs after the initial cooking - the final cooking in curry sauce will add plenty of Thai curry flavor. While seasoning up your braise like a Thai curry is a nice idea, i don't see it adding enough to the dish to make it worthwhile.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cowboyardee

        I don't know cowboy, the richness of the meat paired with the sweet and smooth texture of the coconut milk with a bit of heat sounds like a not so bad pairing. lemon grass would also cut through the richness of the meat and add a perfume essence to the dish. Could be worthwhile

      2. I would agree with biondanonima about braising short ribs in coconut milk. It takes a long time to break down that connective tissue to get that texture we love with short ribs, and I think coconut milk is too delicate for that, and it does tend to separate. If you do try this, you do not need to brown the ribs first -- caramelization is not necessarily associated with asian curries although many non-asian cookbook authors tell you to do it out of reflex.

        Hoever, simmering meat in coconut milk does have precedence. If you check Nancie McDermott's recipe for Mussaman Curry in her book Real Thai, you will simmer chunks of beef chuck or brisket in coconut milk until it is tender. But most of the fat should be trimmed away, and it is okay for the meat to be a little chewy (not fall-apart tender). The coconut milk adds a very nice flavor to the beef by the way. It's one of my fave recipes, particulary when I take the time to make the curry paste myself.

        1. As you already know Rendang is awsome, but you do not want rich dry curry like Rendang.
          If I were to do it I would;
          Lightly brown the short ribs( if you brown them too much it will discolor the sauce later) set aside.
          Saute my curry paste till the oil separates.
          Add some bruised Lemongrass, sliced Galanga , Shallots and Garlic sweat for a couple of minuets.
          Return the Shortribs and add liquid to cover (not coconut milk) Braise till tender.
          Remove Aromatics and Ribs reduce a bit.
          Enrich with Coconut cream(first extraction or undiluted canned) return the ribs add kaffir lime leaves simmer.
          Adjust with sugar and fish sauce to taste.