The flavours, dishes and ingredients of Japan, Korea and China pack the menu at Supernormal, the longstanding diner from Melbourne chef-restaurateur Andrew McConnell (Gimlet, Cumulus Inc, et al). The varied influences of McConnell and his brigade of chefs hop around Asia in dishes such as kingfish with pickled fennel and yuzu kosho, Sichuan white-cut chicken and a lobster roll that’s achieved cult status.

Ssam, an ancient Korean dish, sees a bite-sized portion of meat wrapped with a leafy vegetable like lettuce (though seaweed, kimchi and abalone are sometimes used). It’s often served with ssamjang, a dipping sauce of fermented soy beans, gochujang (chilli paste) and other ingredients – but this version is accompanied by a smoked green chilli sauce. The flavour is turned up to 10 with a coating of spicy salt made with Sichuan pepper, chilli flakes and plenty of paprika. It’s a hands-on centrepiece, and makes the perfect dish for a loose, DIY-dinner party.

Supernormal’s beef rib ssam
Serves 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours, 5 minutes

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4L water
1 tbsp salt
400g boneless beef ribs (approximately 8–10 pieces)

100g smoked green chilli sauce (we make our own – see below – but Tuck Shop Sauce Co’s hot sauce is an excellent substitute)
2L vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
100g gluten-free flour
6 leaves green oak lettuce
6 leaves cos lettuce
12 rounds sliced Korean pickled radish or daikon
8 shiso leaves
12 pickled Turkish snake chillies or guindilla chillies

Spice salt
3 tbsp Korean chilli flakes
1 tbsp red Sichuan pepper powder

½ tbsp onion powder
½ tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt flakes
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp paprika

Smoked green chilli sauce
30g pickled ginger, finely diced
30ml pickled-ginger syrup
50ml rice-wine vinegar

30ml vegetable oil

To prepare the beef ribs, bring salted water to the boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the ribs, reduce to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and breaks apart easily with a fork. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl to cool, discarding the cooking liquid.

Combine spice salt ingredients.

To make the green chilli sauce, mix the ingredients together and taste, adding more chilli if required.

When the ribs have cooled, heat the oil in a medium saucepan (the oil should be about 5cm deep) over medium heat. Toss the ribs in the gluten-free flour and shallow-fry for three minutes. Place the spice mix in a bowl. Remove the beef from the oil with a slotted spoon and coat in the spice mix.

To serve, place the ribs on a flat serving plate. Arrange the lettuce leaves, radish or daikon, shiso and chillies on another plate. Serve the green chilli sauce in a bowl on the side.