What’s cooking today: Sticky beef short ribs

What’s cooking today: Sticky beef short ribs
Tony Jackman’s thin-sliced beef short ribs with noodles, on a platter by Mervyn Gers Ceramics. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

A marinade of Asian condiments with fresh ginger and garlic flavours these thin slices of beef short rib in a delicious recipe for an astonishingly quick super.

This air fryer meal can be ready in under half an hour, once the meat has been marinated. So if you’re planning it for supper, spend 10 minutes in the morning mixing the marinade ingredients and dousing the meat in it, and leave them in the fridge for the ingredients to do their magic during the day. When you get home, have a drink, put your feet up, then spend 20 minutes in the kitchen getting this super supper together.

A version of this recipe is popular in Korea, where galbi, which means rib, is sliced thinly in the flanken style, which means it is cut across the bones and against the grain of the meat, a technique that is believed to aid tenderisation. Flanken is German for flank, or “to the side”, and also in Yiddish, and classic kosher flanken is a dearly prized dish, particularly in the USA. It is braised slowly in the oven in an aromatic stock that includes grape juice, and aficionados say it is even more delicious eaten the day after it was made.

But that’s not the way we’re cooking beef short rib today. When it’s sliced thinly, think of short rib as you might calamari, which either needs to be cooked very quickly or for at least half an hour. The cut, when in thick chunks, makes a superb stew cooked for many hours. But get your butcher to slice them about 0.7 cm thick (give or take) and you can either cook them in a low oven for a couple of hours or in just minutes on the grill.

Or in the air fryer. Yep, here we go again. These cooked for a total of 10 minutes, but you could give them a little longer for extra browning if necessary. I was sceptical that they would turn out tender, but they were amazingly soft for a cut of meat that is famously tough.

(Serves 2)


500 g beef short rib, sliced thinly, about 0.7 cm thick

Asian noodles steeped in boiled water for 10 minutes and then drained in a colander

3 or 4 spring onions, sliced, including some of the crisper green part

A dash of soy sauce

A splash of wok oil

Cooking oil spray

For the marinade (double if serving 4):

2 Tbsp sweet soy sauce

1 Tbsp dark soy sauce

1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

A 3 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped

1 heaped tsp cornflour


Mix the marinade ingredients together and douse the pieces of meat in it. Leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight. Don’t throw out the juices, you’ll need them later.

When you’re ready to cook, put the kettle on and, when it’s boiled, pour the water over the noodles in a bowl, to cover.

Preheat the air fryer to 200℃. Spray the bottom of the basket. Lay the pieces of short rib out with a little space between them for the hot air to circulate.

Air fryer at 200℃ for 5 minutes

Turn the meat over and air fry for another 5 minutes.

If they need a little more caramelisation, give them another 2 or 3 minutes. 

Drain the noodles in a colander. Sauté spring onions in wok oil with a splash of soy sauce, add the remaining marinade juices (see?), cook for a minute, then toss the drained noodles through this. DM/TGIFood

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.

SUBSCRIBE to TGIFood here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing.


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