I have been on an Asian food kick lately. I love how those flavors have the capability to really hit every note and taste bud on your palate. I have been craving that balance and fulfillment of all 5 different basic tastes recently. However, I am not quite sure Boy shares in my joy over this 24/7 desire to eat Asian food. This is probably because I keep sending him to the Asian market near our house, which can be a little bit overwhelming. Not only is everything written in another language (Vietnamese I believe?), it is also seriously cluttered. Like, ten tons of groceries and knick-knacks in a five pound grocery store, type of cluttered. It takes quite a bit of time and dedication to locate whatever it is you are looking for. Despite the markets somewhat overwhelming exterior, I find the store charming. Mostly because I am in serious love with the back of the market. This is where the heart and soul of the market can be found. There is a ginormous counter of freshly caught fish, lounging and glistening, on huge bins of ice, floor to ceiling tanks of live lobsters and crab, freshly roasted ducks hanging from hooks, and cases upon cases of freshly baked Asian pastries and sweet treats on display. I could, and will, spend all day in the Asian market. This is exactly why Boy goes, because who knows when you will see me again if I venture there. 🙂
Anyways, have no fear. These delicious Slow Cooker Korean Braised Beef Short Rib Lettuce Wraps do not require you live near a kick a$$ Asian market. All the ingredients in these can be found at your local, run of the mill grocery store. I made sure of that, because I did not want you to miss out on these wraps, as they are far too spectacular.
Staying true to what I love most about Asian cuisine, these lettuce wraps contain a harmonious, symphony of flavors. The short ribs are seared first for a crisp, well browned exterior, and then braised for meltingly tender, juicy rib meat that falls off the bone. When smothered and covered with the glaze, they become sticky, slightly sweet, a little tangy, and umami. All that meaty scrumptiousness gets paired with slightly sour, crunchy, refreshing cucumber salad and sticky white sushi rice for some substance, then wrapped in cool, crisp bib lettuce to yield a wrap that will blow your mind. Literally, these lettuce wraps are so divine, Boy was trying to convince me to sell them. Luckily, the only thing I am charging you, is with a loving demand to make these. Like now. Or at least this weekend. 🙂
Aside from these short rib lettuce wraps being everything in the taste department, they are also a cinch to make, since you can set them and forget them in the slow cooker. Also, the ribs can be made a day in advance, which actually I recommend. Not only do the ribs taste better (if you ask me), it is also easier to make the sauce, since the fat will naturally separate from the cooking liquid in the refrigerator overnight. The next day you can just scrape the solid fat off and reduce the liquid. Easy-peasy!
Shredded Korean Short Rib and Sushi Rice stuffed in Lettuce Wraps
- 2 Pounds Bone-in Beef Short Ribs
- 2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice
- 2 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper
- 1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ Cup Sake
- 2 tsp Cornstarch
- ½ Cup Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
- ½ Cup Apple Juice
- ¼ Cup Dark Brown Sugar ,packed
- 2 TBS Sesame Oil
- 2 TBS Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1 Green Onion Roughly Chopped
- 2 large Cloves of Garlic peeled and smashed
- 1 TBS Ginger minced or grated
- ¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- Sesame Seeds garnish
- Asian Cucumber Salad
- Butter Lettuce Leaves
- Sushi Rice cooked*
Let Ribs come to room temperature on the counter for 30 minutes. Pat dry and season with Chinese 5 spice, salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed, large stock pot, over medium high heat until shimmering.
Sear ribs, on all sides until browned, about 9-10 minutes total (3 minutes per side, don’t disturb/move ribs while browning on each side). Use tongs to remove ribs and transfer to a slow cooker. Add sake to the pan, and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. Cook until reduced by half, about 1-2 minutes.
Pour reduced sake over the ribs. Add the sauce ingredients to the slow cooker. Cover, set slow cooker to high until ribs are fall off the bone tender, about 5-7 hours (or 9-11 hours on low). Turn/flip ribs over 2 or 3 times during cooking.
Carefully (they will be tender) remove ribs from slow cooker and transfer to a serving platter or clean work surface. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Strain the cooking sauce and let fat separate (use a fat separator or wait a minute for fat to rise to top). Discard fat. Transfer sauce to a small saucepan over medium/low-medium heat. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until reduced by half. Mix cornstarch with 4 tsp of water to make a slurry. Whisk slurry into sauce and continue to cook an additional 2 minutes, or until thickened. Pour or brush over ribs, reserving some to serve on the side.
For Lettuce Wraps: Use two forks to remove meat from bone and shred. Divide rice, cucumber salad and meat among lettuce cups. Spoon some of the additional sauce over the lettuce wraps and garnish with sesame seeds.
*To Cook Sushi Rice: To Place one cup of rice in a fine mesh strainer. Rinse with cool water until water runs clear. Allow to drain. Transfer rinsed rice to a heavy 2 quart saucepan and add 1 ¼ cups of cold water. Bring to boil over high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 20 minutes. Leave lid on and remove from heat. Allow to sit, covered for 10 minutes. Remove lid and fluff. Serve.
*Ribs can be made a day in advance, remove and place in a container with a tight fitting lid. Strain the sauce, cover and refrigerate. The fat will be very easy to remove the next day, simply scoop it off the top and discard. Continue making the sauce as directed above. To warm the ribs, heat oven to 300 degrees. Place on an aluminum foil lined sheet pan. Bake, turning over once or twice, until warmed throughout, about 20-30 minutes.