Sambal Short Rib Stir-Fry

Skeptical at first, we were gastronomically impressed over the outcome of this Sambal Short Rib Stir-Fry. Typically, short ribs take hours in a slow braise, so when we saw this stir-fry method, we definitely had our doubts that the meat would be tender after less than a half hour. Here, thin-sliced short ribs become a quick cook MVP in this seriously flavorful weeknight meal.


Since the supermarket was only carrying bone-in short ribs, we had to cut the meat off the bone before slicing into thin strips. However, we considered it a bonus because we’ll freeze the bones until such time Russ makes another batch of homemade meat broth. Keep in mind, you can partially freeze the short ribs before you slice to get really thin cuts.

Russ slices the meat off of the bones which he saves to make meat stock at a later date.

To make it easier to cut the ribs into thin slices, freeze the meat for about 30 minutes.

Be forewarned, there is a fair amount of prep and you really need to do it all prior to the beginning of tossing ingredients into your wok. You’ll be tossing and stirring often during each step.

In case you are not familiar with sambal oelek, it is a fiery Indonesian ground chile paste typically made from a mixture of a variety of chili peppers with secondary ingredients such as shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, lime juice, and rice vinegar or other vinegars. (Sriracha would be a decent substitute.) The spiciness will be somewhat counterbalanced by the sweet mirin.

Instead of making a new batch of rice, we had some leftover green rice that I reheated with a touch of added chicken broth, and it actually went quite well with the stir-fry.



  • 1 pound boneless beef short ribs, thinly sliced against the grain
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • ¼ cup sambal oelek
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 6 medium radishes, trimmed, quartered
  • 6 ounces snow peas, strings removed
  • 1 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup torn basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil


  1. Heat oil in a wok or large cast-iron skillet over high. Season beef with salt and pepper and cook, tossing and stirring often, until deeply browned, 8–10 minutes.
  2. At first, the meat might seem wet but it will eventually take on color and look shiny. Add onions and mushrooms and cook, tossing around, until they soften and start to take on a little color, 6–8 minutes.
  3. Add scallions, ginger, and garlic and cook, tossing constantly, until slightly wilted, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add sambal oelek and mirin and cook, tossing to coat, about 1 minute.
  5. Add radishes, snow peas, and broth and bring to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced by half and meat and vegetables are glossy and saucy, about 5 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Serve stir-fry over rice topped with basil.


Recipe by Brad Leone from Bon Appétit

2 thoughts on “Sambal Short Rib Stir-Fry

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