LAST August 30, 2014, I caught the special cooking class conducted by Purple Yam’s Amy Besa at The Maya Kitchen Culinary Arts Center in Makati City. Besa and husband Romy Dorotan made in 1995 when they opened a Filipino restaurant, Cendrillon, in SoHo, Manhattan, which they later on transformed into Purple Yam when they moved to Brooklyn in 2009. Purple Yam was unprecedented, proudly introducing Filipino cuisine in the United States and serving amazing Filipino dishes that earned rave reviews for it. Just a few months back, Besa and Dorotan opened Purple Yam Malate in their home in Manila. A destination dining place that can only accommodate a limited number of diners, it’s a by-reservation-only restaurant that is always fully booked for weeks, even months, in advance.
That Besa was able to accommodate a cooking class at The Maya Kitchen was rare, indeed, so, although it was scheduled on a Saturday, off I went with my husband Raff and we even arrived early. True to form, Besa demonstrated how to prepare five heirloom dishes from recipes that can be found in her and Dorotan’s best-selling cookbook, Memories of Philippine Kitchens. One of the dishes happened to be Beef Short Ribs Adobo which, Besa says, never fails to impress. Here, we share the recipe of this special dish so you can try it in your own kitchens and make your own kitchen memories.
3 Tbsps. canola oil
3 lbs. beef short ribs, cut into 4 equal pieces
1/2 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
1-1/2 tsps. freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken stock or 1 cup chicken stock plus 1 cup coconut milk
1 cup sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
3 pcs. bay leaves
3 pcs. whole bird’s eye chilies (optional)
1. In a large saucepan, warm oil over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Season short ribs with salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add ribs to the pan, in batches if necessary, and brown well on all sides, about 3 minutes total.
2. Transfer short ribs to a plate, pour off oil, and return ribs to the pan with 1 clove garlic that has been halved.
3. Add chicken stock (*and coconut milk if using the alternative amount combining chicken stock and coconut milk for a richer, darker and almost chocolate-y sauce), vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, the remaining 1 tsp. black pepper and whole chilies, if using.
4. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until meat is tender and falling off the bone, about 1 hour and 20 minutes, skimming off excess fat as you cook.
5. Transfer ribs to a plate, increase heat, and reduce sauce until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves and chilies. Return ribs to the sauce or arrange ribs on a platter and pour sauce over them.
(The Maya Kitchen Culinary Arts Center is located at 8/F, Liberty Bldg., A. Arnaiz Ave., Makati City.)