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wagyu beef short rib ragu

Wagyu Beef Short Rib Ragu with Pap and Spicy Tomato Smoor


Elevate pap and vleis to something extraordinary with this meaty Wagyu ragu served with tomato smoor and fluffy pap.

  • Serves: 6-8 |
    6-8 servings
  • Rating:

  • Difficulty:

  • Prep Time : 1:30 hours |
  • Cook Time : 3:0 hours
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2 kg wagyu beef short rib, cut into chunks
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 large carrots, grated
100 g tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 400g tin of chopped tomato
2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
4 sprigs of thyme, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 C (500 ml) good red wine
1 C (250 ml) beef stock
2 Tbsp (30 ml) fish sauce
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Spicy Tomato Smoor

olive oil
8 large tomatoes, halved
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp (15 ml) brown sugar
1 Tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
2 sprigs of thyme, chopped
1-2 red chillies
1 tsp (5 ml) paprika
2 Tbsp (30 ml) butter
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Stiff Pap

4 C (1 litre) water
2 C (500 ml) maize meal
a knob of butter
sea salt

To Serve

flat leaf parsley
grated parmesan cheese


For the ragu, set a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season the short ribs with salt and when the Dutch oven is hot add the meat in batches and sear for 2 minutes aside to caramelise. You don’t need to add any oil to the pan as the fat will render out. Work in smaller batches so that you don’t crowd the pan. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Add the onions, celery and carrots to the pot and fry for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, to cook and caramelise the veggies. At this point, preheat the oven to 160 ºC.

Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a further minute until fragrant. Turn the heat to medium and add the meat back to the pot. Add the tomato, herbs, wine, stock, fish sauce and stir gently.

Place the Dutch oven into the oven, with the lid on but left slightly ajar, and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours until the meat is fork tender. Wagyu has a lot of fat so you may need to skim some off if there is too much in the pot. (Tip: save the fat for frying eggs or for using in other dishes).

Remove the bones and allow the pot to rest for 20 minutes before roughly shredding the meat with forks. Season to taste.
(Tip: this dish can also be done in a pressure cooker, adjust the time according to what you would in order to cook beef – roughly 40 minutes depending on the make of your machine).

Spicy Tomato Smoor

For the smoor, slice the tomatoes in half and remove the stem core. Lay the tomatoes cut side up on a foil-lined baking tray – drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the tray in the oven on the top rack with the grill set to maximum. Grill the tomatoes until they soften and the tops and edges begin to char. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set aside.

Add a splash of olive oil to a medium sized pot over medium high heat. Fry the onions until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and fry for another minute until fragrant. Turn the heat down to medium, then add the tomatoes (including any liquid on the tray) to the pot and use a potato masher to roughly mash them. Add the sugar, vinegar, thyme, chilli and paprika and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil and simmer for 6-8 minutes. Add the butter and then season to taste.

Stiff Pap

For the pap, add 4 cups of water into a medium size pot over high heat. When you have a rolling boil, add 1 cup of maize meal to the pot without stirring and cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes without stirring. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and stir the pap to incorporate any dry maize. Then use a potato masher or wooden spoon to mash out any lumps.

Gradually add another cup of maize to the pot while stirring vigorously to work out any lumps. Once all the maize is incorporated, put the lid back on the pot and turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Steam the pap for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and add a knob of butter, season with salt and stir well to combine.

To serve, dish up a generous amount of pap then top with spicy smoor and a shredded ragu. Finish with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan and serve.