Sweet & Sour Pork Spare Ribs with Cucumber & Mint Salsa
I reckon these babies, Pork Spare Ribs, are the unsung hero of the meat department. Luckily the restaurants don’t seem to have cottoned on so they are still well within budget (unlike pork belly and lamb shanks) and are really easy to cook with. I’m calling this ‘Sweet & Sour’ instead of ‘Char Sui’ pork as I really wanted to sharpen up the dish, not only in the marinade but with the cooling and zesty cucumber and mint salsa that I paired it with. A fragrant spring onion and ginger rice gave this meal another depth of flavour that took it from standard yum to super yum!
To save time if you have to go to work, marinate the spare ribs in the morning or even the night before. The longer they marinate, the better the flavour.
Prep time: 25 Minutes Cooking time: 1 Hour + at least 1 Hour marinating time $$ Medium Budget
8-12 pork spare ribs (depending on size and look for nice lean ones)
3 tbs of char sui sauce
2 tbs of soy
1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
2 tbs of Sriracha chilli sauce (found in the Asian section of the supermarket)
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbs of palm or brown sugar
1 spring onion, finely sliced diagonally and lime wedges for garnish
For the Cucumber Salsa:
2 lebanese cucumbers, deseeded and finely chopped
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup of mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup of coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tbs of rice wine vinegar
1 tbs of caster sugar
For the Rice:
11/2 cups of Jasmine rice
21/2 cups of water
1 tbs of finely grated ginger
1 tsp of sesame oil
2 spring onions, finely sliced
In a bowl, with a whisk combine the char sui sauce, soy, vinegar, lime juice, sugar and chilli sauce. Place the ribs in a shallow baking dish and pour over the marinade. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Use a pair of tongs and lift the spare ribs out of the marinade and place them in a baking dish lined with baking paper. Pop them in the oven and baste them with the marinade every 10 or so minutes, turning them each time you baste, for 1 hour until the ribs are golden and sticky.
While the ribs are cooking, place the cucumber, chilli, mint, coriander, vinegar and sugar in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
Place the spring onion garnish in a bowl of iced water for maximum crispiness and a lovely curly effect.
Place the rice and water in a saucepan with a generous sprinkling of salt and the ginger. Bring the rice to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cover with a tight fitting lid for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, remove the lid very briefly and add the spring onion. Don’t worry about stirring it through at this stage as you don’t want the steam to escape. After five minutes, add the sesame oil and fluff the rice with a fork, stirring through the spring onion at the same time.
To plate the dish, use a ramekin to spoon the rice into and then invert it onto the serving plates. Arrange the spare ribs around the rice and spoon over the cucumber mixture. Drizzle over any remaining pan juices, top with the spring onion and serve with the lime wedges (sorry forgot to put those on the plate when photographing the dish, but it gave it a nice citrus lift!)