Garlicky Pork Ribs Soup with Tamarind and Greens

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

Appears in

Slow Cook Modern

Slow Cook Modern

By Liana Krissoff

Published 2017

  • About

This is a loose adaptation of the jaw phak kat in Andy Ricker’s phenomenal book of (mostly northern) Thai recipes, Pok Pok. As soon as his long-awaited book arrived in the mail a couple of years ago, I flipped through it and then ran around to every Asian grocery store in Lincoln, Nebraska, where we lived at the time, hunting down ingredients. The sour, salty, murky (read: flavorful!) soup was the first dish I made, and it was truly extraordinary. This weekday slow cooker–friendly version is a bit simpler and more pork-forward than Ricker’s, but I think just as good.

Ingredients

  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 8 dried red chiles, preferably Thai, stemmed, four of them broken into pieces
  • 2 large shallots, one chopped and one thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 pounds (910 g to 1.4 kg) meaty pork ribs, or 2 pounds (910 g) country-style ribs
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate, such as Tamicon brand
  • About 5 tablespoons (75 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 pound (455 g) sturdy greens, such as yu choy or Chinese broccoli, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) lengths

Method

Morning

Using a mortar and pestle, smash the garlic, the broken-up dried chiles, the chopped shallot, and a good pinch of salt to a paste. Put the paste in the slow cooker with the pork ribs, 6 cups (1.4 L) water, several grindings of pepper, the fish sauce, miso paste, and tamarind. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Morning or Evening

In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of the oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the sliced shallot and cook, stirring with a slotted spoon, until deeply browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Return the oil to medium-high heat, add the whole dried chiles, and cook for 30 seconds, until just darkened a shade. Remove to the paper towel to drain. Set aside at room temperature; keep the skillet handy (no need to wash it yet).

Evening

Place the skillet with any remaining oil (add a little oil, if needed) over medium-high heat. Add the greens and stir until just wilted, then cover and cook until the thickest stems are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding about ½ cup (60 ml) water if they start to stick to the pan. Gently fold the greens into the soup in the cooker (the ribs will be falling-off-the-bone tender; fish out and discard the bones, if you’d like), season with more salt or fish sauce, if needed, and serve with the fried shallot and chiles on the side for topping.