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every dish has a story

Kaki FuraiJul 25, 2010

I had Japanese fried oysters for the first time on Miyajima Island near Hiroshima. Miyajima is known for its oysters -- as evidenced by the many street vendors lining the main walk in town who will grill you one of its sizable gems to order. Those versions are piping hot, steamed in their own juices. The kaki furai (say it quickly, and the root of the name is revealed) is succulent in its own right: bite through the crisp panko crust, and you will find its delicate purse, flavored by the sea.

Braised Short Ribs with Arbol Chiles, White Beans, and MushroomsJul 25, 2010

In the world of comfort food, braised short ribs are about as comforting as it gets. Nothing beats soft, fall-off-the-bone meat nestled in a rich jus of vegetables, red wine and a hefty helping of fresh herbs. Well, almost nothing.

A few subtle substitutions, as I found, make a world of a difference. Add a twinge of heat by swapping tomato paste for lightly toasted arbol chiles. Replacing the red wine with beer helps to tenderize the meat and gives the sauce a more complex, oaty flavor. Now those are some short ribs that will put anyone at ease.

Read on for the recipe.

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