Inspired by Andrea’s post the other day, I thought I would share my favorite non-recipe recipe. As she mentions in her post for Lebanese Eggplant, our Child’s Play section is designed to highlight the art of improvisation and creativity in the kitchen.
I. love. ribs. However, I am also amazingly clumsy and accident prone, so I wisely avoid using a grill even though we’ve always had one in our backyard in Miami. This does not stop me from making ribs every chance I get and it shouldn’t stop you either. It also shouldn’t stop non-clumsy folks who simply live in teeny-tiny apartments and can’t own a grill (like my current living situation in Chicago).
I initially started making ribs by braising them stove top based on a recipe I found in Lorraine Turner’s Ethnic Cuisine for soy sauce braised ribs which kinda went like this:
* 1lb of pork ribs (you can cut them into small bite sized pieces or leave them as is)
* 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (I used more, probably WAY more, BBQ sauce works too)
* 2 tablespoon vegetable oil or any other shortening (I always use olive oil as I always have it handy)
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 2 star anise
* 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
* 2 oz brown sugar (original recipe called for rock sugar, but I’ve never found rock sugar, and brown sugar tastes awesome)
* 3/4 cup of water
1. Put the pork ribs in a shallow dish and cover with dark soy sauce, use more if needed. Marinate in fridge.
2. Break the head of garlic w/o removing the skins
3. In a deep pan heat the oil and fry the garlic for a minute. Add the cinnamon and star anise and fry for one more minute. Then add the pork and fry until beginning to brown and then stir the light soy sauce, sugar, and water. Gently simmer uncovered for 30 minutes while frequently moving the ribs around and using a spoon to bathe them in the liquid.
4. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes to an hour or until meat is tender and liquid has turned into a thick sauce.
Over the years I have continued to braise ribs in just about everything.
I have also made them in the oven as per a great recipe for balsamic glazed ribs from Gourmet (the ingredients for the glaze also lend themselves well to the braising technique outlined above, and the ingredients in the recipe above also lend themselves well to making a glaze for oven roasted ribs).
Braising in beer is also great.
Orange juice, honey, and thyme was a big hit.
Malta (my favorite beverage of all time) is amazing.
Honestly if you can think it, then in probably goes great with ribs. Once you do it one time you’ll realize it is so easy to experiment with this and be creative that it truly is child’s play if you ask me.