MEET THE SOUS CHEF
SUNG AHN, CHEF DE CUISINE, AZIZA
In 2005, fresh from a four-year stint in the Army and a yearlong tour in Iraq, Sung Anh took a job as a dishwasher at Los Angeles’ Water Grill. Seven years later, Anh is chef de cuisine at the modern-Moroccan restaurant Aziza, a job he acquired after working at such noteworthy restaurants as Urasawa in Beverly Hills, The French Laundry and, most recently, Benu in San Francisco.
But the self-taught chef, who immigrated from Seoul, Korea, to San Diego when he was 14, has cooking in his blood: His parents own a Chinese restaurant in San Diego. For the Sous Chef Series, Ahn cooked his inspired version of Korean-style short ribs, a variation on a dish he grew up eating.
TRACK THIS CHEF
DAY IN THE LIFE
On Lucky Breaks
"The chef of Benu, Corey Lee, came to eat at Urasawa when he was chef de cuisine at The French Laundry. He offered me a job at the Laundry after his meal. Talk about a break--I've been really blessed with good mentors."
TIPS & TECHNIQUES
In His Pantry
"I like to cook Korean food at home. It reminds me of my mom. So I always keep my pantry stocked with Korean chile paste, sesame oil and a few different types of rice."
"Some friends told me about the recent Tupac hologram at the music festival Coachella. I thought, 'The world evolves so fast--and I'm just in the kitchen cooking! Maybe I should go outside more.'"
4 pounds beef short ribs (8 to 10 ribs)
½ Asian pear, peeled and finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup canola or grapeseed oil
⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
⅓ cup soy sauce
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled (use the edge of a teaspoon to scrape off the skin) and thinly sliced into rounds
1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced into rounds
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1. Place the short ribs on a cutting board and trim away the exterior fat. Finely chop 2 tablespoons of the fat and place in a large bowl (discard the rest of the fat). Slice the meat off of the bones (save the bones for use later on in the recipe) and finely mince the meat either by hand or by pulsing in a food processor until it resembles very coarsely ground beef. Add the minced short-rib meat to the fat in the bowl and use a rubber spatula to combine. To the bowl, stir in the Asian pear, shallot, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to overnight).
2. Make the glaze: In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the honey, mirin, soy sauce, ginger, chile and sugar to a boil. Turn off the heat and divide the glaze between two small bowls.
3. Place the short-rib bones on a rimmed baking sheet. Take about an egg-size portion of the meat mixture and mold it halfway around the topside of one of the bones. Repeat with the remaining meat and bones. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
4. Preheat the oven to 400°. Place a wire rack in a rimmed sheet pan and set aside. Into a small bowl, add the oil. Heat a grill pan over high heat until nearly smoking, about 2 minutes. Brush the pan with some oil and grill the short ribs in batches until they’re nicely marked, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the ribs to the wire rack, grill-marked side up, and brush with some of the glaze from one of the bowls. Cover the second bowl of glaze with plastic wrap and set aside (to be used for finishing the ribs).
5. Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook the ribs until they’re still pink on the sides, about 10 minutes. Brush the short ribs with more glaze from the first bowl and continue cooking until they’re completely cooked through (when the meat has gently separated from a bone, there should be no signs of pinkness), about 15 minutes. Discard any remaining glaze from the first bowl. Spoon some glaze from the second bowl (the unused glaze) over the ribs, place the ribs on a platter and serve with the remaining glaze on the side.