My partner Ray, loves pork ribs so much. He would order it when he sees it on any restaurant’s menu and it’s probably also one of the few things that he can cook at home. After several failed attempts he managed to get the hang of it and has been consistently making stunning barbecue pork ribs. This momentum has snowballed after he successfully wowed everyone at a friend’s housewarming party by bringing a container of homemade barbecue pork ribs. Turns out everyone loves pork ribs and a few of them even went for the second round.
That fantastic evening just gave him an idea – he wants to do some experiments on cooking pork ribs with various sauces. I agree to his idea right away as I believe that pork ribs don’t have to be cooked with only barbecue sauce to be the crowd’s favourite. It would be fun!
For each successful experiment we will keep the recipe as our repertoire, if it’s not we will learn why the recipe doesn’t work and tweak a few things.
So here goes my first recipe creation, Spicy Thai Red Curry Pork Ribs.
I found a can of red curry paste sitting in my pantry which gave me an idea of making the ribs similar to Pad Prik Khing. Pad Prik Khing is basically a type of Thai curry which is dry as it is fried with hot oil and doesn’t use coconut milk. In my vision I want the ribs to still be charred outside and juicy inside, similar to cooking American ribs, and served with a thick red curry sauce instead of drowning in the curry so this will turn out to be a bit similar to Pad Prik Khing.
These pork ribs are initially rubbed with spices first and slow-roasted in the oven for a few hours. Then I made the red curry sauce and added just a tad of the sauce to cover the ribs before grilling them on high to give them the lovely charred marks that I wanted.
Because red curry spice can be too overpowering for the ribs I used brown sugar to tune the spice flavour down a notch to a milder level, helping the sauce to achieve that balance flavour of sweet and spicy at the end. A few spoons of coconut milk was also added to develop the flavour and enhance the silkiness of the texture.
At the end I was really really happy with the result! It was my first experiment and I confidently declared it as a success. These ribs were just juicy and bursting with bold flavours – the spicyness from the chillies and red curry paste, the sweetness from brown sugar and coconut milk, complemented with the tanginess from the fish sauce and lime.
I recommend to serve these red curry pork ribs with jasmine rice or couscous. You can also eat it as is too, but I found that the sauce goes really well with jasmine rice. It was like eating spiced coconut rice.
- 2 racks (1.5kg) pork ribs
- 1 tsp of smoked paprika powder
- 1 tsp of chilli flakes
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- 1 tsp of onion flakes
- ½ tsp of coriander seed
- ½ tsp of ginger powder
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of red curry paste
- 4 tbsp of coconut milk
- 1 tbsp of fish sauce
- ½ tbsp of lime juice
- 2 red chillies, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1.5 tbsp of brown sugar
- 1 tbsp of olive oil/canola oil
- Preheat the oven to 145C or 300F. Mix the ingredients for the spice rubs and massage the mixture on ribs.
- Place ribs in a baking pan and cover with aluminium foil. Bake ribs in the oven for 2.5 hours.
- Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic and chilli for 1 minute and add red curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, and lime juice. Saute for 2-3 minutes and add brown sugar. Cook for another 2 minutes until brown sugar completely dissolve into the sauce. Season to taste.
- Heat a large grill pan or frying pan on medium heat. Coat the pork rack with one to two tablespoons of the red curry sauce per rack. Transfer ribs into the pan, cook for 2 minutes until charred marks appear and turn to the other side to cook for another two minutes. Remove from heat and place on a serving plate with the remaining red curry sauce. Serve ribs with jasmine rice.