Pounders Restaurant is fast becoming one of the local favorites here on the north shore of Oahu. It doesn’t take much to realize that this is due to local chef, Felix Tai who has been given room to practice his special style of ono Asian-Western-Polynesian fusion.
Today, we’re going to share the secrets of his signature dish, Boneless Short Ribs with Kalbi Glaze. We will give you the basic preparations for the Boneless Short Ribs, but it is the kicky kalbi glaze that completes it.
When I first tried this recipe, I followed the instructions to the letter yet failed miserably. I contacted Chef Felix and he kindly invited me into Pounders kitchen to figure out what may have caused this disaster. It became clear that this is not a recipe to cut corners on, including the quality of the ingredients:
- I used sesame oil – straight off the shelf of my local grocery store. Chef shook his head and explained that he uses 100% pure sesame oil.
- As far as Chef is concerned, it’s Kikkoman Soy Sauce or nothing. “Smell it,” he told me. “You can smell the yeast, yes? Yeast turns into an alcohol base and that brings in the perfect flavor.”
- My next lesson: don’t purchase toasted sesame seeds. Instead buy plain seeds and toast them just before adding them to the mix in order to bring out a wonderful nutty flavor.
As long as you follow those rules, the recipe is straight forward, easy and sure to become one of your family’s favorite sauces.
Boneless Short Ribs
Take your time getting your short ribs just right!
- First, season a quality cut of beef with butcher’s cut pepper and kosher salt.
- Now sear the meat to lock in its fullest flavor.
- Next, braise it in au jus for 5 hours at a very low temp. This low and slow technique is key.
- When the beef is ready, bring the temperature up and brown the meat quickly in its own au jus.
- Plate your beef and glaze it with our Korean style kalbi glaze which is also cooked with a slow and low technique.
Ingredients for Kalbi Glaze
Makes 4 oz.
2 tbsp. cornstarch
3 tbsp. water
¼ c. sesame seeds, toasted
1 c. Kikkoman shoyu
3 tbsp. 100% pure sesame oil
½ c. water
10 tbsp. cane sugar *
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 inch ginger
¼ bunch green onions
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. Sambal (find it on Amazon)
* I asked Chef if I could convert the 10 tablespoons of sugar into a simpler measurement (like 2/3 cup….). His look said it all. So it’s back to rule #1: no cutting corners. Yes sir, Chef!”
Combine cornstarch & water to make slurry. Set aside.
Pour 1/4 c of sesame seeds into an ungreased pie pan. Place in oven on low heat to toast. Shake pan every 5 minutes. Remove as soon as it’s turned a golden brown.
Combine the toasted sesame seeds with the remaining ingredients in a quart pan.
Turn burner onto medium high. Stir constantly until mixture begins bubbling along the sides of the pan. Stop stirring and let it come to a full boil.
Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Stir well. Let sit for 15 minutes. Use it to top your beef, fish, chicken or even as a salad dressing.
Store any remaining sauce covered tightly in fridge for up to 2 weeks. Add a little water when reheating to break up the gel that formed.
Chef Felix Tai is trained in classic French cuisine and with a strong Southeast Asian flair. Engaging local farmers, fishermen and ranchers for sustainability as well as trace-ability of the local products is a fixed standard of his commitment to the land he loves. He serves as an Executive Chef at the Polynesian Cultural Center, the largest and most popular paid attraction on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Chef Felix can be found working the line alongside his handpicked team in the kitchen at Pounders Restaurant.
Nina Jones, a mainland gal from way back, is now a transplanted Islander. With her husband of 41 years, she volunteers at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Her hobbies include swimming, traveling, studying and writing about what she is learning from the various Polynesian cultures. Her blogs focus on their history, beliefs, practices and – as an added bonus – delicious food! To her, Polynesia is not just a place to visit, it is a way to live and she is very honored to be able to be a part of their amazing world.