The most expensive cuts can go up to $20 per kilo. And when you consider that you are also paying for the bones (which will end up in the bin or with your dog), it is rather overpriced, don't you think? With NZ or Aussie beef sometimes going for as low as $20 per kilo for the striploin cut - and less when you go for other cuts - it does look like pork is not the cheaper meat any more. Pork and beef are more or less on par.
That said, we need to have pork ribs once in a while. In restaurants or the 'Zi Char' stall at the void deck coffee-shop, pork rib dishes are a favourite of many. How often is it cooked at home? Maybe it is the price factor. But many find that more work is needed to get a good pork rib dish going as you cannot stir fry it in a hurry. If you do, pork ribs can break your teeth, and I am not talking about the bones. Unless of course you bicarb and tenderize the meat, a quicky method which many restaurants use. Tenderize. Deep fried. And then in a very hot wok, stir fry with other ingredients and sauce.
The good news is that many of these pork ribs dishes can be cooked at home. There are a few ways of cooking it: boiling (soup - think Bak Kut Teh), steamed, braised or deep/stir fried. Over a few posts, I will detail out these four methods of getting some good pork ribs dishes on your table. (The steamed version here)
Let's begin with the most common method which Auntie Ruby used many times - braising.
In a way, this method is similar to braising Char Siew in the wok. You cook the meat till it is tender in a braising sauce. Unlike boiling in an "ABC" soup (where you use a cheaper type of pork ribs) where you flavor the soup with the ribs and leave the meat "falling off the bone," in braising, you keep the sauce flavorful, the water level just right and you don't overcook the meat.
Alright, I come to the bit I dislike the most: the "tsp section." Ok, I need to braise myself for this...
|Braising the ribs. Note the water level.|
Auntie Ruby's Braised Pork Ribs in Black Bean Sauce
Serves 6.54 persons
1 kg of Pork Ribs
4 tsp of minced ginger
3 tsp of chopped garlic
2 tsp of Black Bean sauce (Tau See)
4 tsp of yellow bean sauce (Tau Cheong)
3 tsp sugar
2 tsp Soy Sauce
2 tsp Dark Soy sauce
Diced Chili (3 pieces)
Chopped Coriander Leaf (inc the stalk as well)
Water..hmm..how much water? Just some.
Phew. I did it.Except for the water. Let's just remember you are braising the meat and the water level should not exceed the half way mark.
I trust by now that you are familiar with the principle of 'agaration.'
|At bottom right, the light yellow sauce is palm sugar/ You can use normal sugar instead.|
- Heat up the wok with a few tablespoons of oil.
- Add ginger. After a minute or two, add garlic and half of the diced chili. (Keep the other half to add just before you dish out to make it prettier)
- Add the paste and stir fry in medium flame till fragrant. Don't burn the paste as it will turn bitter.
- Add the meat and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.
- Add some water and braise for about 30 minutes. You can choose to cover the wok but do keep an eye on the water level.
- Towards the end, you can taste the sauce and make some adjustments if you wish. You can add some water if the sauce is intense.
- Before you dish out, infuse with the chopped coriander stalk/leaves and the remaining diced chili.
So, what type of pork ribs should you use? For braising, almost any cut of pork ribs will work. I will talk more about this the next time I post a ribs dish.