I love coconut curries. They are common on Thai menus and I adore their rich, creamy, and spicy flavors.
Thai flavors have become rather common in my kitchen in recent years. After I have my first bite of Pad Thai nearly ten years ago I became almost obsessed with trying new dishes and deconstructing them so I could make them at home. Some of the attempts have been successful. Other, not so much. So, when I was wondering how to flavor some short ribs I thought instantly of a coconut curry. It was the right call. The richness of the meat is enhanced by the earthy curry and creamy coconut milk, but the dish avoids being too rich because of the brightness from the lemongrass and lime juice. (I used lime juice because since February Kaffir lime leaves have vanished from the shops. I miss them and pray for their return! If you have them or can find them please, feel free to use them here.)
Making this in the slow cooker means this can be an everyday meal, not just a special occasion dinner. With my schedule having something that tastes this good but requires minimal effort is something to be treasured. You can prepare all the ingredients the night before and in the morning just dump it all into a slow cooker and go about your day. When you come home just make some rice and you are done! Trust me, after a long day and an even longer commute home this dish will bring a tear of joy to your eyes!
Coconut Curry Braised Short Ribs Serves 6
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound beef short ribs
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
3 black peppercorns
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced in 4 pieces
1/2 stalk lemongrass, bruised with the back of a knife
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 – 10 ounce can coconut milk
1 cup water
3 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of a knife
1 cup sliced onion
1/4 cup fresh lime juice*
2 – 1 inch strips lime zest*
2 tablespoons brown sugar
* or 4 fresh Kaffir lime leaves
In a heavy skillet over high heat add the vegetable oil. Season the short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Brown the ribs on all sides in the hot skillet.
In the insert of your slow cooker combine the remaining ingredients. Add the seared short ribs and cook for 8 hours on low. Remove the shorts ribs and strain the braising liquid.
Serve the short ribs over rice with some of the sauce. If you are feeling bold add a little toasted coconut for a garnish.