In this Vietnamese dish the pork ribs are first marinated and then quickly flash fried to seal in all the flavour and to give some colour. The cooking is then finished by lightly braising the ribs in young coconut juice, adding a wonderful natural sweetness. Serve as part of a shared meal.
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 red Asian shallot, diced
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
300 g (10 ½ oz) pork spare ribs, cut into 2 x 3 cm (¾ x 1 ¼ inch) pieces
vegetable oil, for deep frying
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) young coconut water
1 onion, sliced into segments
2 coriander (cilantro) sprigs
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time: 20 minutes
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the garlic, shallot, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix well, then add the pork ribs and stir to coat well. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
Pour the oil into a wok and heat to 180°C (350°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds.
Add the undrained pork in batches and deep-fry over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until brown.
Remove the pork and drain on kitchen paper.
Put the coconut water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Add the pork ribs and simmer for 5 minutes, then increase the heat and cook for a further 3 minutes, or until the coconut water has reduced to a quarter of its original amount.
Add the remaining garlic, the onion and a pinch of black pepper. Stir constantly for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Transfer the ribs to a serving platter and garnish with coriander.
Serve with steamed jasmine rice.