No bake, No marinade Twice Cooked Cola + Tamarind Spicy Pork Ribs
Say whaaat?! I’m writing this post whilst on a sugar high just after hosting a Filipino BBQ and Chocolate Ice Cream Party where I made Tocino Chicken Wings, BBQ Pork Skewers, Pandesal bread and this recipe you’re reading right here mama!
It may be the amount of ice cream I’ve just consumed, but I know you think I be trippin’ as I write these words describing this dish: No baking, No pre-marinating required yet still perfectly charred, smokey and sticky pork ribs. That’s right folka-listas! A quest for tender ribs had me running a muck in the kitchen as I, along with a bottle of Coke (not lemonade this time), experimented with ten racks of pork ribs until I got it right! Can you tell I take my wibs seriously?!
What else has been happening?! The last month has been real busy on the book/blog front. I was interviewed by SBS Radio to talk about Filipino food- a clip of this hopefully coming soon amongst other cool things which I’ll talk about in another post.
I’d take a bullet for tamarind + Lipsmackers
My love for tamarind goes way back. Together, we’re like Bonnie & Clyde, well, not really but when it comes to using tamarind, I get up to no good getting into trouble for using it in dishes that traditionally don’t include it. If anyone went back home to the Philippines and asked if I wanted anything, tow things I’d always ask for were 1) fresh tamarind pips and all that snacked on whilst watching Thundercats and 2) Mammon and Cheese Ensaymada from the iconic Goldilocks Bakery. Most of the time they passed airport customs and when they didn’t, it was like hearing grim news. I felt like packing my Transformers backpack and buying a one way ticket to the Philippines so I could eat these two things all day long.
OMG Idea: Lipsmackers, listen to me carefully. You need to bring out a Tamarind flavoured lip gloss. I would buy in bulk!
Tamarind goes well with many traditional dishes. It’s most popular use is in Sinigang (tamarind based soup with pork belly or oxtail) but it also fills in many gaps for marinading meat. It’s sweet, sour and tangy so all you need is a few more additions to make a nice baste. I now add it to salad dressings, marinades, whatever. I find any excuse.
For this recipe, I’ve chosen the path of boiling the suckers then frying them up in a special mix of goodness until they’re nicely charred and camamalised rather than blasting them in the oven. When I first trialed this for a recent blogger potluck, I boiled them then baked them but it wasn’t as tender as I wanted it (plus it didn’t help that I had to reheat them) so frying them up was a much better alternative plus you still get similar charring results anyways. If at first you don’t succeed….you know the rest. I ain’t gonna lie, the meat didn’t ‘fall off the bone’ – gaaaessh, how many times have you heard that one? I ain’t gonna fool you into believing that one or say it for the sake of saying it.
Sit back and watch
2 x American style pork rib racks
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
3/4 of cup coke
2 red chillies, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
3 tablespoons tamarind
For the boil
large pot of water
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons cinnamon or cinnamon bark (which I use for tea)
Boilin’- can I get a lil tenderness! The vinegar helps tenderise the meat. During this stage, we are not only getting the meat to a tender stage but also infusing some yermy flavours from the cinnamon and garlic.
1. Wash yer two racks of wibs. Remove the fatty membrane film underneath the ribs if you can. I just used a butter knife but it can get tricky but just leave it if it starts to get frustrating. Fill a large pot with enough water to submerge them and add the vinegar, garlic and cinnamon. When it starts to boil, chuck the ribs in
2. Boiling time should take no longer than 15 minutes considering the meat ain’t too thick. To test if weeady, prick meat with a fork.
3. Using tongs, remove each rack from the boil and place on a large cutting board. Rest for a few minutes .
The frying – this is where we will turn these mamas into sticky and saucaaay ribs.Who needs an oven when you can char them on a wok!
4. In a bowl, add the coke, slices chilli, soy sauce, tamarind, brown sugar, pepper and honey. Stir it all up and set aside
5. Heat up your wok or a big ass frying pan at medium heat, add canola oil and crushed garlic. Cook garlic until brown. Can you smell that?! YEEERM.
6. Carefully pour in the mixture and let it bubble away. Give the wok a few swirls every few minutes to combine the liquid until it starts to thicken and reduce. This process should take no more than 5 minutes
7. Gently slice up the pork racks into individual pieces and add to the wok meat side down first
8. Again, gently turn on each side every few minutes. Each piece should be turned at least 3 times on each side
9. By this time, the liquid should be reduced down to a sticky form and the meat starting to caramalise as it soaks up the liquid. We want to start charring them a little so increase the heat if need be to get them to that stage. Move the pieces around mopping up the remaining sticky sauce then remove them from the wok. You want to hear that sizzle as they start to turn a nice charred brown yet golden colour.
FINALLY: sprinkle over some sesame seeds to make all pweeety!
You’ve been served!
So um, do you pre-boil ya ribs? Do ya?
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Keep eating…LIKE CRAZAAY!