Recently, I tried to recreate the "smell" for myself - with great success, I can tell you it also tastes amazing. I served it simply with rice and some pickled cucumber, but you can add a selection of sugar snap peas, baby corn and carrot batons to balance it out a little - the sauce from the ribs is deliciously rich.
Asian Style Beef Short Ribs
Serves 2, generously
600g beef short ribs
1 l water (the sauce is very rich, I'd advise against using stock)
125ml soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
2 whole star anise
1 tsp crushed ginger
1 tsp dried chilli flakes (to taste)
1 tsp brown sugar
squeeze of lemon juice to taste
jasmine rice and pickled cucumber to serve
sliced spring onion and fresh red chill to garnish
In a large pot, heat the sesame and vegetable oil over a medium high heat. Add the short ribs and brown as much as possible on all sides, then add the 5 spice powder, crushed ginger and chilli flakes, stirring until the ribs are evenly coated. Add the water, soy sauce, star anise and chilli flakes and reduce to a simmer. Leave to simmer with a lid on for 45 minutes - 1 hour, making sure the ribs are fully immersed in the liquid at all times.
After an hour, remove the lid and add the brown sugar - have a little taste of the sauce at this stage, remembering that it will reduce and the flavours will intensify. Increase the heat to a low boil, and remove the lid - you are now looking for the sauce to reduce and thicken. This will take approximately 15 minutes - it's best to keep an eye on it, and stir occasionally. Once the sauce has reached your desired consistency (you want it thick - but not syrupy), add a squeeze of lemon juice and taste again. It may need a little more sugar or chilli, depending on your preferences.
Allow the beef to sit in the sauce until ready to serve - garnish with sliced spring onion and fresh red chilli, and wait for the neighbours to come knocking on your door.