When former President Obama dined at Alan Wong’s Honolulu, this was the dish he opted for. As served to the Obama—and to other diners in the restaurant—it is topped with gingered shrimp and garnished with additional sauces. The recipes for these can be found in chef Alan Wong’s book, The Blue Tomato.
The short ribs
Makes 8 servings.
5 pounds (2,268 grams) 2-inch Kosher-cut boneless short ribs
4 cups (528 grams) water
3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
1 cup (227 grams) soy sauce
3/4 cup (210 grams) mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
1-inch piece (15 grams) fresh ginger, smashed
1/2 head garlic (25 grams), smashed
6 green onions (45 grams), white part only, smashed
1 tablespoon (9 grams) cornstarch
1 tablespoon (14 grams) water
1 large (193 grams) Japanese eggplant, quartered lengthwise, cut into 2-inch pieces
Canola oil for frying
1/2 head (154 grams) 1-inch broccoli florets
Ko Choo Jang Vinaigrette
1/2cup (108 grams) rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup (230 grams) ko choo jang (Korean chili pepper paste)
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 grams) soy sauce
Garnish and sauce
Ko Choo Jang Vinaigrette (see above)
Miso–Sesame Vinaigrette (recipe in The Blue Tomato)
Green Onion Oil (recipe in The Blue Tomato)
Black sesame seeds
Braising the short ribs
Place the short ribs in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, skimming any impurities off the top. Add the sugar, soy, mirin, ginger, garlic and green onions. Continue to simmer, skimming the top, for another 2 to 3 hours or until the short ribs are fork tender.
Once the short ribs are tender, remove the pot from the heat and transfer the meat to a deep casserole or pan. Pour the braising liquid through a strainer and into the casserole, covering the short ribs. Cover and chill the short ribs overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, remove any fat solids from the top. Heat a grill.
Thickening the braising liquid
Bring 1 cup of the braising liquid to a boil in a small saucepan. Combine the cornstarch and water into a slurry and use to thicken the braising liquid. When thickened, turn off the heat and set aside.
Grilling the short ribs
Set the chilled ribs aside. Transfer the remaining unthickened braising liquid to a saucepan and reheat on the stovetop over medium heat. When the liquid is hot, add the short ribs. Reheat the short ribs thoroughly then transfer to a plate. Brush the meat with the thickened braising liquid and grill over high heat. When the short ribs are nicely browned, transfer them to a plate and keep them warm.
Frying the eggplant
Heat 2 to 3 inches of canola oil to 350°F in a saucepan. Add the eggplant in batches and fry until golden brown and tender, about 1 minute. Remove the eggplant from the oil and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and keep warm.
Blanching the broccoli
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the broccoli and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the broccoli and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
Making the ko choo jang sauce
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until smooth.
In a shallow serving dish, create a pool of Ko Choo Jang Vinaigrette about 2 inches in diameter. Place a portion of grilled short rib on top of the sauce and place a gingered shrimp on top of the short rib. Place eggplant and broccoli around the short rib. Garnish with drizzles of Miso Sesame Vinaigrette and Green Onion Oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
This recipe appeared in the March/April 2011 print edition of HAWAII Magazine.