Dead Easy Pork Ribs With Palm Sugar Glaze

From Cooking, Blokes + Artichokes by Brendan Collins.

From Cooking, Blokes + Artichokes by Brendan Collins. Photography by Jean Cazals. Published by Kyle Books. ©2016. Published with permission.

  • Dead Easy Pork Ribs With Palm Sugar Glaze Dead Easy Pork Ribs With Palm Sugar Glaze
  • Dead Easy Pork Ribs With Palm Sugar Glaze

Dead Easy Pork Ribs With Palm Sugar Glaze

From Cooking, Blokes + Artichokes by Brendan Collins.

From Cooking, Blokes + Artichokes by Brendan Collins. Photography by Jean Cazals. Published by Kyle Books. ©2016. Published with permission.

From Brendan Collins in Cooking, Blokes + Artichokes --

Chinese five-spice powder is one of my all-time favourite seasonings, and I encourage you to get very friendly with it. It takes its name not from the number of ingredients, but the way this single spice mix hits on all five principal tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami). The flavour is warm and sweet, and I find that it acts like a bridge between salt and the heat of chillis, giving these ribs a really round, warm deliciousness. It’s a wonderful, versatile seasoning to add to pork, beef, or duck. Chinese five-spice powder also lends meat a handsome reddish tone—like that nice red bark that you get when you put meat in a smoker—which is a big improvement over the unappetizing gray tinge that ribs can take on when they’re cooked in the oven.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 225°F.
  2. Season your ribs on both sides very simply with salt and pepper and dust with the Chinese five-spice powder.
  3. Place the ribs meat-side down in a pair of aluminum or glass baking dishes.Cover the dishes with tinfoil and roast the meat for 4 hours.
  4. Drain off the drippings. Flip the ribs over using two spatulas (and an extra pair of hands, if you have them) so the meat side is now up. Be gentle, as they may be so tender they start falling apart. Paint a layer of palm sugar caramel on the ribs and return them to the oven uncovered for an additional 20 to 30 minutes. Serve straight out of the oven.

Palm Sugar Caramel (makes about 1 1/2 cups)

2 cups palm sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 cups thinly sliced shallots (from 4 to 6 large shallots)

1 dried hot red chili, such as chili de árbol

3 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup Asian fish sauce

1.  In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the palm sugar, lemon juice,

and 1/4 cup water and bring the mixture to a boil.  Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any sugar crystals that have stuck to the side of the pan.

2.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the mixture simmer undisturbed until it begins to reach a medium amber color, about 20 minutes (watch the pot carefully, because caramel can go from pale to burned in a matter of seconds).

3.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the shallots, chili, star anise, cinnamon, and black pepper. Carefully whisk in the fish sauce and another 1/4 cup water—the caramel will seize up and spit. Return the pan to medium heat and stir it until the caramel is smooth and dissolved. Pour it into a heatproof bowl and let it cool completely. Remove the chili, star anise, and cinnamon stick and use while warm.

Note from The City Cook: Palm sugar, also called coconut sugar, is brown and if you use this kind of sugar for this glaze, you won't be able to see the sugar caramelize and gauge when it's done based on its color.  I recommend to either substitute regular granulated sugar or if you use the palm sugar, use a candy thermometer to know when it's ready -- your target is 320° F; then take the caramel off the heat and proceed with your recipe.  No matter the recipe, palm sugar and granulated sugar can be used interchangeably in a one-to-one ratio. 

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