SINGAPORE - Just as you are getting over the fact that your clothes feel tighter after the recent year-end festive season, Chinese New Year is here again.
With the Year of the Pig, it is almost certain you will end up pigging out on pork this festive period.
Give your festive meals a Thai twist and impress your guests with this Kraduk moo tod (Thai for fried pork ribs).
I chose soft bone ribs upon the suggestion of a friend. You can get the butcher to cut up the meat into bite-sized pieces for you or do it yourself. You can also use spare ribs or prime ribs.
To get that rustic taste, I went old school, using a mortar and pestle to bash up the coriander, white peppercorns and garlic. This mixture is the most important part of the marinade.
I went out of my way to buy Thai garlic, which is smaller and spicier than the usual kind. It is fine to use ordinary garlic.
Use a fine skewer to poke the meat so that the marinade can better penetrate it.
And if you like those Thai-style chilli dips, this week's recipe includes a spicy tangy dip that goes well with the fried ribs - what gives it a unique flavour is roasted rice powder. I took the easy route and bought ready-to-use roasted rice powder from a Thai supermarket.
KRADUK MOO TOD
1½ tbsp white peppercorns
25g Thai garlic, peeled
25g fresh coriander, including the roots, chopped
380g soft bone ribs, cut into bite-sized pieces of 4cm by 4cm
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp light soya sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
30g palm sugar
1 tbsp tapioca flour
1 tbsp cornflour
400ml cooking oil
40ml fish sauce
30ml lime juice
1½ tbsp palm sugar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2½ tbsp Thai chilli powder
1 tbsp roasted rice powder
12g fresh coriander, chopped
1. Using a mortar and pestle, crush and grind the white peppercorns. Add the garlic and pound into a paste. Add the coriander and pound into a paste. Set aside.
2. Place ribs in a deep dish. Add the fish sauce, light soya sauce, oyster sauce and palm sugar. Mix well.
3. Add the coriander mixture and mix well. Add the tapioca and cornflour, then mix well.
4. Place in the fridge to marinate for at least an hour.
5. In the meantime, prepare the chilli dip. In a bowl, pour in fish sauce, lime juice and Thai palm sugar.
6. Add the garlic, Thai chilli powder and roasted rice powder. Stir well.
7. Add fresh coriander and stir. Set aside.
8. Remove the pork from the fridge 15 minutes before frying.
9. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat.
10. Place one-third of the pork ribs into the oil. Lower the heat to medium-low and fry for six to eight minutes until the ribs are browned and cooked through. Remove and place the ribs on kitchen paper to drain off excess oil.
11. Cook the remaining pork in two batches. Ensure there is enough space between each piece of pork rib to prevent them from sticking together and ensure they fry evenly.
12. Serve the pork ribs with the chilli dip on the side.
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