2 carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 inches ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
1 bottle dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup water
1 tablespoon tamarind paste (or 1/2 cup tamarind juice), optional
3 star-anise pods
In a small bowl, stir together 2 teaspoons salt with pepper. Season each short rib with mixture. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven, deep baking dish, or large, heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Add ribs and brown well, 2-3 minutes per side. Don't overcrowd; cook in batches. Remove to a plate. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat.
Preheat oven to 350°. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse onion, celery, carrots, garlic, ginger, and cilantro until they form a coarse paste. Season with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until softened and fragrant, 5-7 minutes. Add wine, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, and water, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Cook until reduced by one-third. Stir in tamarind.
Return ribs to pot. Add star anise and clove. Cover and cook in oven 3 hours; turn ribs over halfway through. Remove lid for last 20 minutes of cooking to let sauce reduce. When done, meat should be tender but not falling apart. Place ribs on a platter, skim off any fat from sauce, and pour any sauce over ribs.