Thai cuisine is characterized by curries in their myriad of colours and flavours. These curries tend to go from pungent to light and delicate and use a host of ingredients to give very specific flavour profiles to the dishes. Most folks are aware of these curries being served 1n large bowls full of meat and vegetables, but creative chefs have been twisting this notion around.
In this dish, the curry starts in its most basic form, as a liquid. But as the dish simmers gently, the curry thickens and the flavours concentrate. the meat becomes super tender and the flavours penetrate the meat well. The result is ribs that are heavily coated with a thick, flavourful red curry that is delicious.
I have started going to this massive volume on Thai cooking more frequently. It is packed full of recipes from land and culture that prides itself on its cuisine. This book definitely steps out of the ordinary, a must for any cook who wants everything Thai in their kitchen and on their table. Occasionally, in this book, I do come across a recipe where the ingredient is hard to find, but with over 500 recipes, there is so much more to cook.
For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.
For the red curry:
6-10 long red chillies, deseeded for a milder curry
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 1/2-inch lemongrass stalk
2 kaffir lime leaves
6-7 shallots, peeled
1/2-inch piece galangal, or ginger
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon shrimp paste, processed as below
3-4 tablespoons water
For the sauce:
4 tablespoons palm jaggery or brown sugar
3 tablespoons yellow bean paste
For the ribs:
1 lb meaty baby back ribs
2 1-inch pieces of lemongrass
2 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 inch piece galangal or ginger
1 teaspoon pepper
Salt, to taste
4 cups water
Thai basil, for garnish (optional)
To make the red curry paste, wrap the shrimp paste in foil and cook for 1 minute on each side in a hot pan. Cool and unwrap. Add the shrimp paste, and all the other curry ingredients to a small blender and blitz until the paste is very smooth.
Add the jaggery, yellow bean paste and red curry mix to a small pan and cook for 10 minutes till the sugar has melted and the sauce is aromatic. Set aside.
Bring the water to a boil with the ribs, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, pepper and salt. Add the red curry sauce, cover with a lid and simmer gently for 90-120 minutes. Toss the pan occasionally so that the sauce does not stick to the bottom and burn. Towards the end of 90 minutes, most of the water should have evaporated and the curry should be very thick, if not cook further till you have a thick curry sauce that clings heavily to the ribs. Also, the oils from the sauce should have separated and the curry should be frying the curry. Test the meat for tenderness, you should be able to easily crush the meat between your fingers.
Serve on a flat plate with the ribs arranged on top of each other and garnished with fresh basil if desired.