Serving
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Spare Ribs with Coconut Water
Vietnam
  -   Suon ram man
Serves
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
4 app  
***
1-1/4 hr  
Yes
A Vietnamese way with spare ribs that's a bit different than most - mildly sweet, tender, tasty and with very moderate chili bite.



1-1/2
------
3
1
2
1/2
1
------
3
5
ar
1-1/3
2
1/8
------
#
---
cl
oz
T
T
T
---
cl
oz

c
t
t
---
Pork Spare Ribs (1)
-- Marinade
Garlic
Shallots
Fish Sauce (2)
Oyster Sauce (3)
Palm Sugar (4)
------------
Garlic (more)
Onion
Oil for Fry
Coconut Water (5)
Chili Sauce (6)
Pepper, black
-- Garnish
Cilantro Sprigs
PREP   -   (30 min)
  1. Separate PORK RIBS and cut into lengths desired, generally 1-1/2 to 2 inches. A sharp Chinese cleaver knife driven by a soft faced mallet is perfect for this.
  2. Crush GARLIC and chop very fine. Chop SHALLOT very fine. Mix together and pound to paste in a mortar. Mix All Marinade Items. Stir in Pork Ribs and marinate, tumbling occasionally, for 20 minutes or more.
  3. Crush GARLIC and chop small. Slice ONION into narrow wedges. Mix.
RUN   -   (45 min)
  1. In a wok heat Oil to at least 360°F/180°C and fry Pork Ribs in batches until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
  2. Pour out the oil and clean the wok. Pour in the Coconut Water and bring to a boil. Stir in the Pork Ribs and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes (see Note-1).
  3. Uncover and simmer down until there are only a few tablespoons of liquid left.
  4. Stir in Onion mix, Chili Sauce and Pepper. Fry stirring until the liquid is gone and the ribs are frying.
  5. Serve hot, garnished with Cilantro.
NOTES:
  1. Spare Ribs:   If the ribs have a lot of cartilage I add some regular water to the coconut water give them about 45 minutes simmer time so the cartilage is edible - its a good source of calcium and probably good for joints too.
  2. Fish Sauce:   This clear liquid is as essential to Southeast Asian cuisine as it was to Imperial Rome. For details see our Fish Sauce - Introduction page.
  3. Oyster Sauce:   A standard Chinese sauce used in Southeast Asia for dishes in the Chinese style. Lee Kum Kee Premium brand recommended - it's in a very Chinese looking bottle but it's made in Los Angeles. Yes, it's a lot more expensive, but there's reasons for that (much higher oyster content, unleaded and no melamine).
  4. Palm Sugar:   If you don't have this use Turbinado or another lightly refined sugar.
  5. Coconut Water   This is NOT coconut milk, but the water from inside a Fresh Young Coconut. These are sold for the water as the flesh is thin, jelly-like and lacks flavor. This water is easily available canned, but the canned is invariably sweetened with sugar (coconut sugar, we hope), so if you use it you need to cut back or omit the sugar in the marinade. In any case, some coconuts will not yield quite 1-1/3 cups, so it's a good idea to have a can on hand. Try to find a brand that doesn't list water as the second ingredient. For details see our Coconut page.
  6. Chili Sauce   The ubiquitous Huy Fong Sriracha Sauce will do fine. Made in Los Angeles by a person thrown out of Vietnam by the Communists (for being of Chinese descent), it is not quite authentic (they don't have tasty red ripe Jalapeno chilis in Vietnam) but I don't hear anyone complaining.
  7. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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