Looking to bring a sweat to the forehead and a round of applause? This dish might take you to market for a pantry item or two, but the results make it more than worth the time. Salty, spicy, sour, sweet: this shred will have friends crying ‘Umami!”
There are some fantastic slow meats on the streets of Vancouver and Cartel Taco provided all the inspiration I needed for a reboot of the spice cupboard at T&T. To me this is what finding a great new meal is all about – trying it on for size at home.
While the pros at Cartel Taco have me beat on all corners from cost to kitchen cleanliness, this is a recipe that has found a following. Next time I might try to match the caliber of Cartel’s sourcing. The providence of Cartel Taco’s weepingly tender pulled protein is peerlessly split between Pemberton Meadows, grass-fed natural beef and similarly fit Fraser Valley Farms pork and their white corn tortillas made in Burnaby.
And I bet that they know the names of all the ingredients in their kitchen too!
1 1/2 lbs boneless beef short rib
1 medium onion, cut in half, sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp little red bottle of dried Chinese spice mix
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp canola oil
4 cups beef broth, low-sodium (great homemade!)
3 cups kimchi
1/4 Tbsp dark soy sauce
3 Tbsp ponzu soy
2 Tbsp fish sauce
3 limes, zest/juice
1-3 Tbsp Sambal Olek
2 Tbsp honey
3 cloves garlic, crush and chop
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, julienned
2 Tbsp agadashi 2*
1 cup kimchi
1 cup green onion, sliced (greens only)
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup cashews, crushed
1 cup apple, pear or mango chopped
1/2 cup Sambal Olek
2 limes, quartered
1/3 cup pickled ginger
12 corn tortillas
Combine brown sugar, spices and salt to make a dry rub for the meat. *This works wonders with as little as half an hour, is best overnight and works well anywhere in between. Goes on dry: melts like spicy/sweet/salty butter when massaged. Its called a rub for a reason so work it in for a minute or two.
Refrigerate until needed.
Heat the oil to medium in a large pot and brown the beef until golden, roughly 5 minutes, adding the onions at the midpoint.
Pour in the beef broth and ensure the short ribs are at least 3/4 covered. Add water/beer/broth as required or desired, along with everything else except the lime juice, 1 cup of kimchi and the garnish.
Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until the meat tears to the touch. Add lime juice and final cup of kimchi for the final half hour of cooking. *If you want to skip the tacos and up the veggies, add a dozen baby bok choy at this point too. Great on rice.
Remove meat carefully from mix and shred. Pour remaining liquid and vegetables through a stainer. Retain separately. * The liquid makes a great broth base for a soup and you should have about 4 cups. add a 1/4 cup of the liquid to shredded short rib.
Get the garnish to the table, beef in a bowl and braised vegetables in another.
Build a salty, spicy, sweet and sour sweat.
And In the Glass?
Dragon Come Home Lemonade
This is the ultimate tonic for whatever ails you – with or without the vodka. Inspired by trips to Farmers Market and the revelation of the Roaming Dragon’s Lychee/Basil Lemonade – another vanguard of Vancouver’s street food renaissance.
1 ltr lemonade (or 12 lemons juiced with water)
1 can (530 oz.) lychee, seeded
2/3 cup fresh basil
4 oz. vodka (optional)
Add all ingredients to blender, puree for five seconds, pulse for 10. Pour into tall chilled glasses. Garnish with fresh basil. Add a splash of soda for a bit of fizz.