Flavor is key to the culinary world, and creating core flavor is what drives the best chefs in the world. Among them is Roy Choi, the prominent Korean American chef who gained fame with his gourmet Korean taco truck Kogi in Los Angeles.
In his new book, “L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food,” chef Choi credits as his inspiration chef Emeril Lagasse on his “Essence of Emeril” television show — “I felt like Emeril stepped out of the TV and shook me by the shoulders and said, ‘Get off that couch. Taste this, smell this, do something.’”
As he prepares this “mom’s best” recipe for a stew adapted from his book, Choi demonstrates that creating complex flavor is simple as well as fun — smell all those spices that recreate the aromas of a kitchen halfway around the world — the essence of beef combined with ginger, cloves, soy sauce, mirin, orange and apple. Mirin, a light rice wine, may be the least familiar Korean ingredient but can be found in the Asian section of most well-stocked supermarkets.
Inspiration comes from many places, and as you recreate this wonderful recipe in your kitchen, you may find your key to the heart of flavor.
The video and recipe are from a cooking demonstration by Choi given at Boston University Metropolitan College’s Food Wine and Arts Program (www.bu.edu/foodandwine).
Roy Choi’s Short Ribs
4 pounds beef short ribs
1 bunch trimmed and chopped scallion
11/2 cups soy sauce
1/4 cup peeled and chopped ginger root
1 chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mirin (rice wine)
1/2 cup orange juice (fresh is best)
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, cut in half (stems removed)
1 cup chestnuts (from a jar, peeled)
1 cup peeled taro root (cut into 3-inch pieces)
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
1 cup peeled and cubed butternut squash
1. Place the ribs in a bowl and cover with water overnight to pull out impurities. Rinse and drain the ribs twice. Remove from bowl and score the top of the meat diagonally. Return to bowl, re-rinse and drain. Remove and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Combine the scallions, soy sauce, ginger, onion, garlic, sugar, mirin, orange juice and apple juice in a blender or food processor. Pulse to puree. Add water if necessary to thin the sauce.
3. Put the sauce in a pot or Dutch oven. Add three cups water and stir. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the ribs and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover.
4. Cook the ribs mixture for at least two hours, or until tender. Add the vegetables, cover and simmer for another half-hour or so, until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked to preference.
5. Serve and enjoy.