“This is so much better than a braise,” proclaims Prime Time host Brent Young after trying the short rib dish at New York’s Di An Di. Chef and owner Dennis Ngo had been playing with this short rib dish for weeks before putting it on the menu of his Vietnamese restaurant in Greenpoint; ultimately deciding that the only way to prepare the cut was to steam it, grill it, and then deep fry it.
Before all that, the short rib is treated by being coated in koji — a culture used traditionally in Asian food. When placed on meat, koji breaks down protein and draws out the umami. The koji-coated short rib is steamed for a minimum 24 hours; and when it’s picked up for service: grilled so that it yields a nice crust.