Thursday, November 8, 2012


Once, a long, long time ago, in a kingdom not so far away called Libis, newcomer Lokal Restaurant and Bar stood proud. It was fresh and fun, served Pinoy food with irreverent names and catchy descriptions, was staffed by enthusiastic and youthful chefs, and made the aligue pasta a household name.

The iconic Ms. Doreen Fernandez wrote a heart-fattening (pampataba ng puso), review of Lokal's food. My co-recipe developer, now an Executive Chef at an upscale, ultra-chic resort (Prince William and Princess Kate were guests) and I swooned in happiness and kilig when we first read it. More than a decade has passed, and the write-up, with its yellowing edges, still make us grin broadly--my friend is very accomplished yet you never really forget who gave you your first big break.

Here's a recipe from Lokal that was a runaway bestseller, crispy beef shortribs gently boiled in a savoury broth until tender then chilled and deep fried to blissful beefy heaven. My husband thought I would cook Lokal food for him everyday which is why he proposed, so you have an idea just how  appetizing this is.

Boil 2 kg. cubed beef ribs in water (enough to over the ribs in the pot), 3/4 cup soy sauce (you may add more to taste), 3 tbsps. brown sugar, 5 pieces star anise, 1 bay leaf, 10 pcs. pepercorns, 1/2 pc. white onion, salt to taste.

Remove the scum that floats on top as soon as the water boils. Lower the heat and simmer the ribs until fork-tender and the bones are easily separated from the meat, around 2-3 hours.

Drain the ribs well. Let it cool. Reserve the boiling liquid and freeze this once it cools. It can be used for Chinese-style braised beef brisket.

Chill the ribs overnight.

Before cooking, set out the ribs 30 minutes beforehand. Heat enough oil in a deep pot for frying. Deep-fry the ribs until crisp. Be sure to cover the pot as this will surely splatter.

Serve the ribs with a dip of soy sauce, vinegar, pepper and chopped onions with optional bird's-eye chili.

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