Slow cooked to perfection! Weizhen’s short ribs take some beating.

By Weizhen Zhong

Weizhen’s short ribs


  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup thinly sliced ginger
  • 2.5 kg beef short ribs
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups light soy sauce
  • 2 firmly packed cups brown sugar
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 spring onions, sliced
  • Steamed rice
  • Chinese broccoli
  • Red chili, sliced thinly

Pre-heat your slow cooker to a medium temperature.

Season the beef lightly with salt and pepper. Place your wok on the stove at a medium to high heat, pour in your olive oil then add the ginger and saute. After a minute or two add in the short ribs and cook for three to four minutes until browned all over. Remove ribs from the pan and place them inside your slow cooker.

Next, place the onion and carrot in your wok and cook, stirring for two to three minutes or until browned.

Finally add in the garlic, vinegar, stock, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, star anise and four spring onions cut in thick slices and bring to a simmer.

Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, mixing thoroughly. Cook on a medium heat for four hours or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.

Serve beef with rice, Chinese broccoli, chili and remaining spring onion.

Growing up in Tianshui, part of the Gansu province, was different years ago from what it is today. Sure, it was a busy place then, but as the years have gone by, the population has grown. My memories of my time as a young girl there are so vivid – the gardens, the places to see, even the people.

One place I remember visiting is Maijishan Grottoes which dates back to AD 420 and is one of the four largest such grottos in China. The Tang poet Du Fu visited the site and wrote a poem entitled “Mountain Temples” which translated reads.

“There are few monks left in these remote shrines,
And in the wilderness the narrow paths are high,
The musk-deer sleep among the stones and bamboo
The cockatoos peck at the golden peaches.
Streams trickle down among the paths;
Across the overhanging cliff the cells are ranged,
Their tiered chambers reaching to the very peak;
And for a 100 li one can make out the smallest thing.”

The first time I enjoyed this delicious meal it was presented to me by my mother. It was Chinese New Year; I was only six years old and our family had gathered to celebrate together. I was amazed by the flavour! From the eight-angle (star anise) to the tartness of the rice wine vinegar every bite was amazing. I was convinced my mother was a genius in the kitchen.

I present to you this taste on behalf of my mother, please enjoy it.