I fell in love with Indonesian food about 20 years ago on the island of Bali. The spicy sambols, the wonderful new arena of herbs and spices and fresh ingredients, who can resist? Many chefs believe that Indonesian food is maybe the most complex in the world, and I agree. It is this mysterious aspect of the cuisine that draws me to it.
I am always excited to get a new cookbook, and I wanted to give this one the work out. I made our dinner entirely from this book, and paired these ribs with the Golden vegetable stir-fry and the Water spinach with roasted tomato sambal.
These pull apart tender ribs were coated with a crusty layer of spiced from the spice paste and were wonderful with the dipping sauce. A delicate dish with lots of flavor from a wonderful cookbook.
For more recpes from this cookbook click here.
For the ribs:
5 small Asian shallots, peeled
5 garlic cloves
2-5 red chiles, Thai preferred, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger paste
2 tablespoons palm sugar or jaggery
Salt to taste
1 rack of ribs, kept whole
Dabu dabu dipping sauce:
3 tomatoes finely diced
2 red chiles, Thai preferred, finely diced
2 small Asian shallots, finely diced
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons palm sugar or jaggery
Salt to taste
To make the spice paste:
Add the shallots, ginger paste, garlic, red chilies, palm sugar and salt to a small blender and puree to a smooth paste. You can add a touch of water if required, but you want the paste to be as thick as possible.
Slather the pork with the paste, cover and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge. I always prefer the overnight marination, if you can plan ahead.
To make the Dabu dabu dipping sauce:
Combine all the ingredients, mix well. Taste for salt, sugar and spice and adjust as needed. All three should be in balance. Allow the flavors to come together at room temperature for at least 1 hour, but longer is always better.
To cook and serve the ribs:
Heat oven to 300°F. Put the ribs on a baking sheet the meat side up. Coat the top of the meat with an even layer of the paste. Seal tightly with foil and bake for 2-2.5 hours. Check the meat every hour and baste with the paste if it has fallen off the meat. During this time you are getting the steam from the sauce to cook the meat, and the oils from the pork to fry the spices. Remove when the meat is tender and the bones can be pulled apart by hand.
Serve with some of the dipping sauce on the ribs , but most on the side. Enjoy with your hands!