Pepper Teigen’s Thai Glazed Ribs
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Picture yourself, napkins at the ready, diving into a plate of barbecued ribs. Now swap the dish for these Thai glazed ribs from The Pepper Thai Cookbook by Pepper Teigen. They’re sticky, spicy, sweet and surprisingly fast to put together.
“The Thai style of making pork ribs is not smoking or grilling but deep-frying,” Teigen writes, “which gets them tender and perfectly chewy and crispy in a fraction of the time. I know ribs don’t sound like a quick lunch, but I cook these for Luna all the time and it’s one of her absolute favorites.”
“Trust me when I say this is the easiest rib recipe you will ever cook,” she continues. “Chrissy will tell you about the one time I almost burned down the house frying these, but never mind that nonsense. Just be sure to turn off the stove when you’re done!”
Reprinted from The Pepper Thai Cookbook. Copyright © 2021 by Vilailuck Teigen with Garrett Snyder. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Jenny Huang. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
3 tablespoons light brown sugar or honey
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Roasted Chile Powder (see note)
1 tablespoon toasted rice powder (found in Asian markets or online)
1 teaspoon finely minced cilantro stems
12 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 rack baby back pork ribs (12 to 14 ribs), cut into individual ribs
¼ cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
1. Make the Tamarind Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, tamarind paste, brown sugar, lime juice, chile powder, rice powder and cilantro stems until the sugar is dissolved. Squeeze in the pulp of the tomatoes (discard the skins) and stir together. (Leftover glaze can be served on the side or stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.)
2. Make the Ribs: Place the ribs in a large bowl and add the soy sauce, garlic powder and white pepper. Toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature until you’re ready to deep-fry.
3. Fill a wok, large heavy pot or deep skillet with at least 2 inches of oil, making sure to leave a few inches of clearance from the rim. Heat the oil over medium heat to 370°F (use a deep-fry thermometer or test the oil by throwing in a little piece of bread or a grain of rice; if it sizzles immediately but doesn’t burn, the oil is ready).
4. Set a cooling rack in a baking sheet or line a plate with paper towels and have near the stove. When the oil is hot, fry the ribs in batches of 4 or 5 until they’re just cooked and well browned on all sides, using a frying spider or slotted spoon to turn them occasionally, about 4 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to keep the oil at 370°F as you’re frying. Transfer the ribs to the wire rack or paper towels to drain and cool (slightly not too much, though). Place the warm ribs in a large bowl, spoon on as much of the tamarind glaze as you’d like, and toss to coat. Transfer to a plate, garnish with cilantro leaves and serve immediately.
Note: Roasted chile powder—prik bon—is a common ingredient in Thai cuisine. You can make your own by roasting 2 cups whole Thai or de árbol chile peppers for about 5 minutes at 350°F, then grinding into a fine power in a blender or mortar.