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Five-Spice Short Ribs with Udon Noodles

Chewy udon noodles have a mild flavor that's wonderful with the delicate spices in this rich beef broth from chef Nobuo Fukuda of Sea Saw in Scottsdale, Arizona, who was an F&W Best New Chef in 2003. Udon is available at Asian markets and some supermarkets, but if you can't find them, Italian egg noodles are the best alternative.

Plus: More Beef Recipes and Tips

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 small celery rib, thinly sliced
  • One 5-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups water
  • One 4-inch piece daikon radish, sliced 1 inch thick
  • One 3-inch piece of konbu (dried kelp) (see Note)
  • 1/3 cup sake
  • 1/3 cup mirin
  • 1/3 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 1/2 pound dried, flat udon noodles or Italian egg noodles, or 1 pound fresh udon noodles (see Note)


  1. Dust the short ribs with the five-spice powder and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the short ribs and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and pour off the fat.
  2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the casserole. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, celery, ginger and thyme; cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the meat to the casserole. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and simmer over moderately low heat until the meat is very tender, about 3 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover the shiitake with the water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let the mushrooms soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Add the daikon and konbu to the mushroom broth in the saucepan and cook over moderately high heat until the daikon is just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the mushrooms and daikon and discard the konbu and liquid.
  4. Transfer the meat to a plate. Strain the broth into a heatproof bowl and discard the solids. Skim as much fat from the surface of the broth as possible. Return the broth to the casserole and keep warm.
  5. Preheat the broiler and position a rack 8 inches from the heat source. In a medium bowl, combine the sake, mirin and fish sauce. Add the ribs, shiitake and daikon and let marinate for 5 minutes. Transfer the meat and vegetables to a baking sheet and discard the marinade. Broil the meat and vegetables, turning once, until the meat is browned and crisp and the vegetables are golden, about 2 minutes.
  6. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the udon until al dente. Drain and transfer to bowls. Top with meat and vegetables. Spoon in the broth and serve.

Make Ahead

The ribs can be made through Step 2 and refrigerated for 4 days. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.


Konbu and udon noodles are available at Asian markets.

Sake The flavors of mirin and ginger in this dish would be echoed by a fine sake, served cold.

Contributed By Photo © Quentin Bacon Published May 2005

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