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Iga Bakar Sapi Penyet – Grilled Beef Ribs


Brian Kennett

Brian Kennett

Amateur Chef and Foodie Extraordinaire


Iga Bakar Sapi Penyet – Grilled Beef Ribs


We had friends down from Hong Kong so I thought I’d cook dinner for them. What to do, what to do? Well Laurence is British and Yummie is Indonesian. Hmmmm there’s a thought. We came back from Bintan the week before, tell you what I saw something on a menu that kind of looked interesting – let’s have a pop at that.


So folks here is my version of what I think is called;

Iga Bakar Sapi Penyet aka Grilled Beef Ribs

I will be doing this again in some stages for you. It’s not too bad or too hard, just a little time-consuming if you want soft, fall off the bone meat. But if in a rush, as I was, you can do some things to help – I’ll explain.

Phase I – Cooking the meat

Now because there were 4 adults and 2 kids I got quite a bit here

  • 4 racks of beef ribs
  • 5 inches of young ginger that you need to peel and finely slice

Take a big stock pot and fill to 2/3 with clean cold water. Add the ginger in and the beef ribs. Bring to the boil and then let this sit bubbling away on a simmer for as long as you can. If you could leave it for 2 hours that would be excellent.

I could not leave for two hours as I was under a bit of time pressure for dinner. You could adopt one of my tools of the trade (see that section for more), that originates from The Philippines. In to the liquid simply add a metal fork. Yep that’s it.

Almost like witches spells – “eye of newt, wing of bat, one metal fork…”

And it works! Use this also in stews, soups etc. if you want to fast tenderise the meat.

Phase II – The Sambal – how hot do you want it?

  • 2 roughly chopped chili padi
  • 3 roughly chopped green Jalapeño peppers
  • 2 large tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1 punnet of cherry vine tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1.5 red onions peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of Belacan (shrimp and chili paste you can get at most supermarkets now – if not some chili sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 good pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons of Tamarin paste – you need ‘wash’ the paste in cold water, literally cleaning off the seed pods but keeping the sour brown liquid in a bowl, that is the outcome of cleaning the seed pods

Get you wok out and add 2-3 tablespoons of oil. Throw in all the above and cook down until all softened. This will take 5 minutes so stay at the wok and keep stirring, you don’t want any burning. Don’t forget this also gives you chance to stand at the stove top and check on those bubbling beef ribs. Add in some more water from a hot kettle if the ribs are not fully covered. You need them immersed in boiling water.

Take this mixture and place it all in a blender and whizz it until it is a paste like texture. It does not have to be super smooth as this is quite a rustic, “get your hands in there dish” – as in no airs no graces, and no cutlery ha ha.

This will make everything burn – from your top to your bottom, but it also has very complex flavours that keep you coming back for more, more, more!!!

Set this aside to cool in a serving bowl, as you serve this as a condiment at the end with the finished ribs.

Phase III – Marinating the ribs;

  • 1 bottle of barbecue sauce – any will do
  • 1 bottle of soy sauce

With some tongs take out all the ribs from the pot. Two things here;

1. Keep the liquid as this will now be a delicious gingery, beefy stock – great for soup bases.

2. Cut between the ribs to create individual ribs.

In a big bowl place all the ribs and then pour on over about 2/3 of the barbecue sauce bottle, and approximately 5-6 tablespoons of soy sauce. Give this a good stir round so all the ribs are covered in the marinade. This you need to marinade for an hour if at all possible. Just set it aside in the bowl, cover with a team towel, and stir through something like every 10 minutes or so to make sure all is still coated.

Phase IV – Finishing off;

Once the beef has sat there in the marinade for the hour or so. Take two baking trays and cover with some silver foil. A tray within a tray. Reason for this is that you simply pull the foil off after cooking the ribs in the oven. No need to then wash off all that sticky barbecue sauce and soy. That would be a right f*cker to get off once baked on, believe me.

Transfer the individual ribs on to the baking trays making sure you try to keep them individual, as in no overlaps. Pour over the remaining marinade from the bowl.

Bash these bad boys in the an oven on 250 degrees for 10 minutes. Take them out turn them over and back in for another 10 minutes. The marinade should start to crust and become sticky, the beef should start to brown. If not you could always leave it in for another 10 minutes or so.

Phase V – Plating;

Very simple this.

I stacked them ribs on to one hug serving platter – almost Flintstone’s like. Drizzle some of the remaining marinade from the baking tray over the top. A little oil will be in that liquid too, with a great end effect of adding a lovely glisten to the beef ribs when you serve them up.

Serve with your sambal.

Serve with some plain white rice.

That’s it guys.

You’ll get smokey BBQ flavours on the meat, with a hint of salt from the soy. This is great on its own with the roasted beef ribs that have a slight hint of ginger from the boiling process.

But then try a rib with some of the sambal. BOOM. Completely different experience. Heat, sour but still the BBQ in there too. A match made in heaven.

Great feedback for this dish from the family and friends. Every single rib was consumed. Another tip if you has sambal left over – simply take some small freezer bags and separate it out in to portions and bash this in the freezer. Simply out they come as and when you need them from then on. Easy!


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