Coconut Curry with Short Ribs and Braised Cabbage

July 10, 2019

Coconut Curry with Short Ribs and Briased Cabbage

Recipe by Local Roots Recipe Contributor, Chef Megan Watson

This recipe can be adapted to your liking with regard to sourness and heat. Serve with rice; this is “stick to your ribs” curry! Please feel free to ask me any questions at or @mwatsonnyc 

 YIELD: Serves 2-3

TIME: 2 hours

  • 1½ pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into ½ inch rectangles
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, outer layer peeled off
  • 1 shallot, peeled and halved
  • 2 two inch pieces ginger, peeled
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 1 1/2 quarts cabbage leaves, torn
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 14oz can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1-2Thai chili
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • Juice and zest of 1 large lime
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, julienned
  • 1/2 cup cilantro or culantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil, roughly torn
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Fried shallots (buy them premade)




  1. Place short ribs in any pot with a heavy, tight fitting lid. With flat side of a knife, bang lemon grass so that it smashes while remaining in one piece. Add to pot. Next, add shallot and ginger. Place cardamom, cinnamon sticks and star anise in a cheese cloth; tie this with kitchen string and add to pot. Fill pot with cold water until it just covers the beef. Turn heat on high. Once it comes to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cover. Cook about 1 hour, or until beef is fork tender. Once in a while, open pot and skim off any grizzle that has come to the surface


  1. With beef now fork tender, remove spice bag, lemon grass, ginger, and shallot. Add cabbage. Put lid back on and let steam until wilted and tender. About 10 minutes. Once wilted, turn off heat, drain, and place in a bowl. Let sit until sauce is done.


  1. You can make the sauce while cabbage cooks. To do so, add vegetable oil to a sauce pan. Once it starts to ripple, add red curry. Using a rubber spatula, stir curry paste into oil. Allow to gently cook until spice aromas explode. Keep heat at medium as you do not want this to burn or stick to the pan. Remember to stir every 30 seconds and make sure the sauce gets spread out in the pan. It is done when curry gets a bit darker, about 5-10 minutes.


  1. Now, whisk in coconut milk. Make sure to get any creamy solid bits out of can. Then, whisk in fish sauce and palm sugar until sugar dissolves. Add chili and more curry paste if you desire more heat. Allow to simmer (not boil) and reduce by half.


  1. While sauce is reducing, add to another bowl: peanuts, lime zest, 2 thinly julienned kaffir lime leaves, cilantro/culantro and basil. Give quick stir and set aside.


  1. Once sauce is reduced by half, add lime juice and kaffir lime leaves. Have a taste and add salt as needed. Then, add your cabbage and short ribs. Stir until curry coats the meat and vegetables. Allow everything to simmer together for an additional 2-5 minutes.


  1. Serve over rice and top with the herb mix and fried shallots. These will provide freshness and crunch to this dish.



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