Saturday, January 28, 2017

Vietnamese Baby Back Ribs

Pork is an excellent source of Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine. If you are deficient in B1, you will likely experience headaches, nausea, fatigue, irritability, depression and abdominal discomfort. If you have any of these symptoms, as well as confusion or uncontrolled eye movements, make these ribs and consume them immediately.

2 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer layer removed, lightly smashed and chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon hot chili paste (like sambal oelek)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
1 tablespoon grated garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
3 to 4 pounds baby back ribs
4 scallions, chopped, for garnish
Cilantro and mint, for garnish


    1. Make the marinade: In a small bowl, put the shallots, lemongrass, soy sauce, fish sauce, chile paste, salt, sugar, five-spice powder, garlic and ginger. Mix well.  
    2. Put the meat in a deep baking dish or roasting pan and add marinade. Using your hands, coat ribs well. Let marinate, refrigerated, for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight, well wrapped. Bring back to room temperature before proceeding.
    3. Heat oven to 450ยบ. Add 2 cups water to the pan, cover tightly with foil and place pan in oven. Cook for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees for 1 hour more. Remove cover and return to the oven for about 15 minutes until the ribs are nicely browned.
    4. Remove ribs from pan. Pour pan juices into a saucepan and skim fat. Reduce over high heat until somewhat thickened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, divide ribs with a sharp knife and pile them onto a platter.
    5. Serve family style with steamed rice and pan juices. Garnish with scallions, cilantro and mint sprigs.

    Wine pairing: A big, fruity Zinfandel. A Rombauer, if you are really lucky.

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