Spicy Tamarind Pork Ribs With Scallions and Peanuts
This recipe balances richness with a tart sweetness, and features a two-part approach to cooking the meat that yields complex flavor. Pork spare ribs are marinated, covered and baked until just tender. They’re then brushed with a glaze made with an invigorating combination of tamarind, ginger, nutmeg and scotch bonnet chile. You can finish the ribs in a hot oven or on the grill; the glaze caramelizes nicely either way. They are delightful as a finger food or as a main dish with practically any accompaniment, like this cool cucumber salad.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 2racks baby back or spare ribs (about 2 1/2 pounds each)
- 1cup dark brown sugar
- 2teaspoons garlic powder
- 1teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1teaspoon black pepper
- 1tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ½cup store-bought tamarind concentrate or purée
- 1scotch bonnet chile, stemmed and chopped, or 2 tablespoons sambal oelek or other chile paste
- 2tablespoons honey
- 2tablespoons grated ginger
- ¼teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1tablespoon lime zest (from about 2 limes)
- ½cup thinly sliced scallions
- ¼cup peanuts, crushed (optional)
Step 1Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread the ribs out on a cutting board and pat dry with paper towels.
Step 2In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar with the garlic powder, cayenne, pepper and 1 tablespoon salt. Rub both sides of each rack with the brown sugar mix. Wrap each rack in a double layer of foil and crimp along the edges to seal. Place on a baking sheet and cook until the meat is tender but not falling off the bone, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Allow to cool before unwrapping, being careful of rising steam. Remove the ribs from the foil packets and cut each rack into 4- to 6-rib portions.
Step 3While the ribs bake, add the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar with the tamarind concentrate, chile or chile paste, honey, ginger and nutmeg to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir to combine, bring to a slight simmer and cook until sauce is slightly reduced and thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, add the lime zest, season to taste with salt and allow to cool completely.
Step 4Finish the ribs on the grill (or proceed to Step 5 to finish the ribs in the oven): Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium. Brush the ribs on both sides with a thin coat of the glaze. Place the ribs on the grill, turning often, until the glaze is sticky and charred in spots, 5 to 7 minutes.
Step 5Finish the ribs in the oven: Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the ribs, meat-side up. Brush the tops with glaze and broil until glaze is set and caramelized in spots, 3 to 5 minutes.
Step 6Brush again with the glaze and transfer the ribs to a board. Slice into individual ribs. Transfer ribs to a platter and top with scallions and crushed peanuts.