Sticky Beef Short Rib With Chilli

Sticky Beef Short Rib With Chilli

Sticky Beef Short Rib With Chilli, Coconut & Sambal: Recipes from my Indonesian Kitchen by Lara Lee. Photography © Louise Hagger.

Coconut & Sambal reveals the secrets behind authentic Indonesian cookery. With more than 80 traditional and vibrant recipes that have been passed down through the generations, you will discover dishes such as Nasi goreng, Beef rendang, Chilli prawn satay and Pandan cake, alongside a variety of recipes for sambals: fragrant, spicy relishes that are undoubtedly the heart and soul of every meal.

Lara Lee uses simple techniques and easily accessible ingredients throughout Coconut and Sambal, interweaving the recipes with beguiling tales of island life and gorgeous travel photography that shines a light on the magnificent, little-known cuisine of Indonesia.

What are you waiting for? Travel the beautiful islands of Indonesia and taste the different regions through these recipes.

Coconut & Sambal: Recipes from my Indonesian Kitchen is available at and

Sticky Beef Short Rib With Chilli


This beef short rib recipe benefits from low and slow cooking in the oven, resulting in meltingly tender chunks of meat, seared to a deep brown on the outside and then bathed in a divine sticky sauce of dates, kecap manis, coriander and Indonesian spices. It’s the perfect celebration dish for dinner parties. The traditional dendeng balado is Indonesia’s answer to beef jerky, for which the meat is marinated, boiled and then deep-fried, a style famous in Padang, which must be chewed with full force to counter its toughness! I’ve adapted the recipe, using all the flavours of the marinade but preserving the tenderness and juiciness of the beef.

Balado means ‘with chillies’ and this dish is served with a simple combination of red chillies and lime juice that balances the richness of the short rib sauce. If you can’t find short ribs in your supermarket, you can use any cut of beef that lends itself well to slow cooking, such as beef cheeks, shin or braising steak. Serve it with mashed potatoes and green vegetables. It will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Origin Padang, West Sumatra
Chilli heat Hot
Serves 4

1.15kg beef short rib on the bone (roughly 4 individual short ribs)

3 tbsp tamarind paste (or 3 tbsp lime juice mixed with 3 tbsp brown sugar)

2 tbsp rice vinegar or white wine vinegar

4 tbsp kecap manis (p.254)

4 tbsp light soy sauce

4 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste Coconut oil or sunflower oil, for frying

For the spice paste

3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

5cm piece of ginger (about 25g), peeled and sliced

2 long red chillies, sliced

2 small banana shallots or 4 Thai shallots, peeled and sliced

6 dates, stones removed, sliced 2 tsp ground coriander

For the balado sauce

10 long red chillies, half deseeded, all thinly sliced

4 small banana shallots or 8 Thai shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

3 kaffir lime leaves (optional), stems removed, thinly sliced

Large pinch each of salt and black pepper Juice of 1–2 limes

Preheat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas 2.

Place the spice paste ingredients in a small food processor with a splash of water and blend to a smooth paste. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the spice paste for 10–15 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a deep roasting tray and set aside.

Pat the beef dry and season with salt and black pepper. Wipe clean the frying pan and then heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan over a high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the meat and brown for about 1–2 minutes on each side, until nicely seared and well browned.

Mix the cooked spice paste with 210ml water, the tamarind, vinegar, kecap manis, soy and sugar in the roasting tray and add the seared beef, ensuring it is halfway submerged. Top up with more water if needed. Cover the tray with foil and roast in the oven for 3–31⁄2 hours until the beef is tender and falling off the bone.

Meanwhile, prepare the balado sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the chilli, shallots and kaffir lime leaves together until softened. Season with the salt, pepper and lime juice. You are looking for a punchy, sharp sauce to balance the richness of the beef.

When cooked, let the beef rest for 10 minutes before serving. While the beef is resting, reduce the short rib sauce in a pan over a high heat until thickened and slightly caramelized. Season the sauce with salt, if needed. Serve the beef with a generous helping of the sticky sauce and the balado sauce on the side.

Variation: Quick dendeng

If you’re short of time, substitute the short rib of beef for sirloin or rump steak. Season with salt, pepper and oil and pan-fry the steak to your liking. You will not need the spice paste for this recipe, just serve with the balado sauce.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Bloomsbury Publishing.

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