Recipe: Hawksworth's 48-hour beef short ribs, compressed melon, black pepper jam, green papaya salad

11 March 2021
Recipe: Hawksworth's 48-hour beef short ribs, compressed melon, black pepper jam, green papaya salad

Taken from Hawksworth, by David Hawksworth (Appetite by Random House, $40/£33.99)

Beef short ribs are such a great application for sous vide cooking. You get very little moisture loss so the meat turns out incredibly juicy. It gets soft, then you chill it to set it up, and grill it or roast it to finish. It's a rich, fatty cut, so instead of saucing it with a reduction we glaze them and serve them with black pepper jam with loads of shallots, and a bright, refreshing green papaya salad.

When we put this on the menu at West as a starter, we couldn't keep up. We had to bring it back on the opening menu at Hawksworth.

Serves 6

Beef short ribs

  • 1.3kg bone-in beef short ribs
  • 2 sprigs thyme, stems removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Compressed melon

  • 100ml (7tbs) water
  • 100g sugar
  • ½ honeydew melon, in 18 cubes, 2cm each
  • 3 juniper berries

Black pepper jam

  • 30ml (2tbs) grapeseed or rapeseed oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 knobs ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 15 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1½ bunches spring onions, sliced
  • 15g (1tbs) dried fermented black beans
  • ½ Thai chilli, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 10g (1½tbs) pepper
  • 125ml soy sauce
  • 125ml water
  • 100ml (7tbs) hoisin sauce
  • Sugar

Green papaya salad

  • 65ml water
  • 50g palm sugar
  • 2 lime leaves
  • ½ fresh jalapeño or red Thai chilli, seeds removed
  • 15ml (1tbs) fish sauce
  • 250ml fresh lime juice
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • ¹⁄³ green papaya, peeled and sliced into very fine julienne

Beef short ribs glaze

  • 100ml (7tbs) hoisin sauce
  • 50ml (3tbs) yuzu juice
  • 30ml (2tbs) light soy sauce
  • ¼ orange, juiced


  • Sea salt
  • 12 leaves Thai basil

Beef short ribs

Rub the beef short ribs with the thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, then cover and refrigerate for five hours. Transfer to one or more vacuum-seal pouches. Seal with a vacuum sealer and cook in a water bath at 63ºC with a sous vide immersion circulator for 48 hours.

Remove from the water bath, cool the ribs, and remove from the bags. Trim the excess fat and bones and portion in 170g rectangles.

Compressed melon

Bring the water to a boil in a small pot over high heat. Whisk in the sugar until it dissolves, to create a syrup. Cool rapidly over an ice bath.

Place the cubed honeydew melon in a vacuum-seal pouch with the syrup and juniper berries. (You can also use a regular ziplock bag but the flavour will be less intense.) Seal with a vacuum sealer and refrigerate for two hours.

Black pepper jam

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium to high heat. Add the onion, shallots, ginger and garlic and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently. Add the spring onions, black beans, chilli and pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about five minutes longer. Add the soy sauce, water and hoisin sauce and reduce by a third. Cook until the mixture is thick and jammy and coats the back of a spoon.

Adjust the seasoning and balance with sugar as required. While the mixture is still hot, blend it in a food processor until smooth but not puréed.

Green papaya salad

Combine the water with the palm sugar, lime leaves and chilli in a small pot. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Blend for one minute with an immersion blender until combined. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.

Add the fish sauce, lime juice and shallot and stir to combine. Season with salt.

Refrigerate until cool. When ready to serve, mix the papaya with the dressing.

Beef short ribs glaze

Whisk all the ingredients together until combined.

To serve

Preheat the oven to 150ºC.

Cover or brush the short rib pieces with half of the glaze and heat in the oven until hot throughout, about 10 minutes. Halfway through cooking, brush with the remaining glaze. Cut each rib rectangle in half.

Smear some of the black pepper jam on each of six serving plates and place the short ribs on top. Season with sea salt. Add the melon and papaya salad, and garnish with the basil leaves.

Photography by Clinton Hussey

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