This is a recipe for perfectly cooked pork short ribs with lotus root and kabocha squash. The flavors meld together beautifully and effortlessly in the slow-cooker. This is a true East meet Midwest dish that combines Grandma’s pot roast with Japan’s famous pork ramen. To make it a little more Midwestern, I used the Crockpot I schlepped from Minnesota to Tokyo in August. Totally worth it. The meat becomes so tender and juicy that it falls apart using just a little nudge from our chopsticks. When I buy short ribs, I look for cuts that are meaty with the bone-in, especially if I'm using the slow cooker. The bone actually adds a lot of depth to a dish. Plus, they are easy to remove when the meat is super tender after hours of slow simmering. In Japan, we find a lot of pork short ribs this time of year, so dishes that involve this fool-proof meat are found on our table frequently. —Rachael White
ramen noodles, fresh or dried
kabocha, not peeled & cut in 1/2 inch slices
lotus root, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
yellow onion, diced
garlic, diced (about 3 large cloves)
Pat the short ribs dry with a paper towel. Combine the flour with the salt and pepper in a wide bowl or plate. Lightly whisk together using a fork. Dredge the ribs in the flour and set on a plate.
In a large skillet, heat the oil. When the ribs have been dredged in flour, place them in the hot skillet and brown on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side. Set aside.
In the slow cooker, combine the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, onion, brown sugar, sake, rice wine vinegar and star anise. Stir together to dissolve the sugar. Add the short ribs. Layer the kabocha and lotus root on top. Cook on high heat for 7 hours, turning the ribs once about half-way through.
Prepare the ramen noodles according to the package directions.
On each plate, place a layer of noodles, top with the short ribs, veggies, and some sauce. Sprinkle with chopped green onions and orange zest. Serve immediately.