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"African Dreams" instant pot short ribs

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Tender, succulent instant pot short ribs cooked in a rich and flavorful West African tomato-peanut based sauce Maafe style for quick gourmet on a weeknight. 

beef short ribs in white bowl with sauce

This recipe mashes classic braised beef short ribs with traditional Senegalese flavors for an incredible dish. It's so fire you'll be dreamin of Africa!

Beef Short Ribs Ingredients

beef short ribs ingredients

How To Cook Beef Short Ribs In An Instant Pot (step by step)

Step 1: Brown the short ribs

Season ribs with salt and pepper. Place Instant Pot on saute "More" settings. Add oil then brown the ribs on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Step 2: Saute the vegetables

Add vegetables(onions, habanero, garlic) and saute 2-3 minutes.

Step 3: Make the flavor base

paste cooking in pot
Add tomato paste diluted a bit with water and mix in. Add peanut butter and mix in until dissolved.

Step 4: Braise the ribs

sauce in pan
Add stock, fish sauce, bay leaf, thyme, remaining seasoning (paprika,salt, pepper). Stir then add ribs back. Pressure cook 45 minutes and then use natural release. Remove the ribs, habanero, and bay leaf. Turn IP on saute and reduce liquid to thicker sauce consistency. For a thicker sauce add a starch slurry (water and starch mixed)

Serving Suggestions

Serve the ribs over a bed of rice, other grains, or classic mashed potatoes then top with the reduced sauce. Feel free to consider any of these sides as well:

Mashed Root Vegetables

Coconut Ginger Rice

Jollof Rice

Creole Mashed Potatoes

Curried Collard Greens

Cauliflower Curry

Instant Pot Short Ribs

Beef Short Ribs Cooking Tips

  • Season the ribs simply and generously with black pepper and a coarse salt like kosher or sea salt
  • Brown the ribs properly on all sides
  • Natural pressure release is perfect for slow braising in an Instant Pot. Allow pressure to release at least 20 minutes
  • Dilute the tomate paste with water to avoid the dreaded "burn" message
  • Reduce the sauce when you're done. You can add corn starch to thicken the sauce if that is your preferred 

Short Ribs and Maafe Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is maafe?

Maafe is a traditional spicy West African stew made with tomato and peanut butter-based sauce and a meat like beef, chicken, or even lamb.

What is the best fish sauce for this recipe?

I'm all team Red Boat! It delicious and adds all kinds of complexity to a dish. If you don't have fish sauce in your pantry, it's time to add it. I'm cooking a lot with fish sauce these days and after trying a few different ones, settled on Red Boat.

Does fish sauce make this dish fishy tasting?

There is not a strong fish taste in this dish. You will not notice it at all, but the deep umami flavor will be there. 

How do I brown the ribs without sticking?

The key to any good beef short ribs dish is browning properly to seal in that rich flavor and help provide the proper crust. Thankfully, this is relatively easy with an Instant Pot, but follow these tips here for browning meat in an instant pot without sticking

For more recipes you might like, try these:

Instant Pot Jerk Chicken

Instant Pot Brown Stew Chicken

Instant Pot Collard Greens w/ Brisket

Instant Pot Ham and Beans

Instant Pot Oxtails in Caribbean Sauce

Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice

Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Instant Pot Creole Green Beans

Instant Pot Creole Cabbage  w/ Andouille Sausage

Instant Pot Meatballs with Coconut Curry Gravy

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beef short ribs in white bowl with sauce

Instant Pot Beef Short Ribs in Spicy Tomato-Peanut Sauce

Tender, succulent instant pot short ribs cooked in a rich and flavorful West African tomato-peanut based sauce Maafe style for quick gourmet on a weeknight. 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: African, American
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 811kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Equipment

  • instant pot

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 6 oz tomato paste diluted with 2 tablespoon water
  • 2 quarts beef stock
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs Fresh thyme
  • 1 cup peanut butter smooth
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce

Instructions

  • Pre-Heat Instant Pot with Saute “more” settings. Add oil then brown ribs on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  • Lower saute settings to medium add onions for 2 minutes. Add half the seasoning, garlic and habanero sautéing for another 30 seconds.
  • Cancel “saute” and add diluted tomato paste. Mix well with vegetables.
  • Add peanut butter and mix well.
  • Add stock, fish sauce, bay leaves, fresh thyme, and remaining seasoning (salt, pepper, paprika) then stir. Add ribs back to the pot, cover with the lid and pressure cook 45 minutes. Let pressure release naturally
  • Remove ribs, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and habanero. Return Instant Pot to Saute “More” settings and reduce sauce to thicker consistency.

Notes

  • Season the ribs simply and generously with black pepper and a coarse salt like kosher or sea salt
  • Brown the ribs properly on all sides
  • Natural pressure release is perfect for slow braising in an Instant Pot. Allow pressure to release at least 20 minutes
  • Dilute the tomate paste with water to avoid the dreaded "burn" message
  • Reduce the sauce when you're done. You can add corn starch to thicken the sauce if that is your preferred

Nutrition

Calories: 811kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 60g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 2385mg | Potassium: 2382mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 708IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 8mg
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