Oct 29, 2021
IN THE SPRING OF 2016, a trip to Seoul for a story on the amazing eating scene there happened to coincide with a crazy-hot new opening in town. I asked my hotel concierge to finagle me a booking and after what I was later told was some hard-core T+L-namedropping, I had a last-of-the-night seating at Dosa.
My photographer and I were escorted to a private room, where the chef himself awaited, an immensely genial thirtysomething with an accent I couldn’t quite pinpoint, paintings by his mother on the wall, and a plane ticket back to the States the very next day. Such was the serendipity of my meeting Akira Back, Korean-born who moved to Aspen as a teen, and who parlayed the professional snowboarding circuit into a career in the kitchen, with some encouragement from a mentor named Nobu (maybe you’ve heard of him?), who both gave him his Japanese nickname and prepped him to get famous for modern Japanese cuisine – now practically an empire that bears his name.
Various iterations of Akira Back sushi and steak restaurants and bars can be found in Vegas, California, Toronto, Dubai, and in Asia in Singapore, Bangkok, Hanoi and Seoul. It was in the latter, too, where he decided to get back to his roots and open his first Korean restaurant — in Korea, a daring maneuver to say the least. “My dream was to create an award-winning culinary experience where the menu touched on aspects of my life as well as the four seasons of each year,” he says. “I am happy to know that I accomplished my goals.” Indeed, Dosa, which will be moving to London next year, was first awarded a Michelin star in 2018.
Back’s critically loved formula is charming: featuring seasonal ingredients in playful interpretations of favorite dishes from his youth – on plates designed by his mom. And the braised beef short ribs recipe he offers T+L here is personal in the same way. “The inspiration for this dish was from my mother and my childhood,” he says. “Beef was expensive at the time, so she would make us braised beef, which was always a special treat for a meal. So I wanted to share this short ribs recipe with others.”
Braised Beef Short Ribs
1 lb Beef short ribs (cleaned / no bone, 1-inch cubes)
Corn starch (for dusting)
4 tbsp Vegetable oil
1/2 gal Beef stock / broth
3 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup Sugar
5 cup Garlic (whole)
2 oz Ginger (peeled / skinned)
4 oz green onions
Carrot – 12 slices cut into leaf shape
Potato – 12 slices cut into a leaf shape
12 Quail eggs (hard-boiled)
Cooking instructions, Part 1:
Soak beef short ribs in room temperature water for 5 minutes; take out of water and dry well with paper towel until completely dry.
Season beef well with salt and black pepper then completely dust with corn starch.
On stove top, heat a large pot on medium high with vegetable oil.
Place beef short ribs into the pot and sear until dark brown.
Cooking instructions, Part 2:
After beef short ribs are properly seared, combine all ingredients in Part 2 into pot and turn stove to low to simmer for 4-hour braise.
Immediately remove beef short ribs from pot and strain its contents through a fine strainer and return just the liquid and beef short ribs to the pot over low heat.
Cooking instructions, Part 3:
Heat garnishes — carrots, potatoes and quail eggs — in the large pot for 5 minutes to cook. Apportion the short ribs and liquid to 6 dishes and sprinkle two each of each of the garnishes to each dish.
If you enjoyed this braised beef short ribs recipe from chef Akira Back, check out the rest of our Michelin Masters series.