Who says you can only use your slow-cooker in the colder months? This dish is the perfect example of year-round use for a slow cooker. By taking beef spare ribs, slow cooking them in Thai or Vietnamese-accented flavours and serving up the resulting meal with rice and a mouth-watering fruit and herb salad, you have a great dish that you could actually cook on a hot day while you are at work. This works on so many levels, you’ll probably cook lots of curries in a similar way.
3 large beef spare ribs; 25g plain flour; 2 tbsp vegetable oil; 500ml water; 1 long red chilli; 4 kaffir lime leaves; 4 spring onions (shallots), trimmed and cut in half; 2 star anise; 2 stalks lemon grass, white part only, cut in half OR 2 pieces of lemon rind, about 5cm long; 1 tsp tamarind paste; 1 tbsp palm sugar or soft brown sugar; 3 tbsp fish sauce;1 x 400ml can coconut cream; 2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded, extra; 2 spring onions, extra, finely sliced; 3 tbsp coriander leaves
Toss the ribs in the plain flour. Heat oil in a large heavy-based frypan and sear the ribs on both sides until they are browned. Transfer the meat to a slow cooker.
Add water to the slow cooker. Chop up the red chilli into large chunks and add, together with the lime leaves, spring onions, star anise, lemon grass or lemon peel; tamarind paste, sugar and fish sauce. Cook on Low for up to 8 hours, or High for 5 hours.
In last hour of cooking, remove beef ribs and cut up into large pieces, bones and all. By then they should be falling apart. Strain the stock through a sieve into a jug and discard the solids. Pour the clarified stock back into the slowcooker, add the meat, the remaining shredded kaffir lime leaves, the extra spring onions and coriander leaves.
Shake the can of coconut cream well, then pour 300ml (three-quarters) of the tin into the pot and stir well. The remaining coconut cream can be used in the pineapple salad, listed below.
Cook for another hour before serving with steamed rice and a salad of pineapple and herbs.
$10.00 for four serves