Five-Spice Short Ribs with Ginger and Cilantro


Sisters Jasmine and Melissa Helmsley, who created the superpopular London-based wellness blog Hemsley + Hemsley, grew up cooking Filipino food with their Manila-born mother, Evangeline Garcia. The flavors of the Philippines is laced through this rich stew of short ribs simmered in a broth punched up with star anise and a touch of fish sauce. Slideshow:  More Beef Stew Recipes 

Asian Beef Stew
Photo: © Nicholas Hopper
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 5 pounds English-cut short ribs

  • Sea salt

  • Pepper

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

  • 3 whole star anise pods

  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

  • One 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes in juice

  • 2 cups beef stock or broth

  • 4 cups stemmed curly spinach (4 ounces)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish


  1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the coconut oil. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, brown the ribs over moderately high heat, turning, 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Transfer the ribs to a large plate. Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the five-spice powder, then add the star anise, carrots, celery and fish sauce and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, stock and short ribs to the casserole and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, turning the ribs every hour, until they are very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

  2. Discard the star anise. Stir the spinach and lemon juice into the casserole and season with salt and pepper. Divide the stew among serving bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Make Ahead

The stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Suggested Pairing

Peppery, fruit-dense California Syrah matches all the spices in this stew.

Related Articles