Pork ribs braised in young coconut juice

Pork ribs braised in young coconut juice

The Food of Vietnam
Alan Benson

I cooked this dish right in the middle of the Vinh market. As soon as we started filming, locals began surrounding me, curious to know what I was cooking. They didn’t care about the camera — they kept shouting out what I was missing and what I was doing wrong. By the end, they grabbed my tools, took over my cooking cart and actually cooked the dish themselves. It was so much fun, with lots of laughs, and one of my favourite cooking segments of the series.


Quantity Ingredient
1 red asian shallot, diced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons garlic, crushed
300g pork spare ribs, cut into 2 cm x 3 cm pieces
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
250ml young coconut juice
1 onion, sliced into wedges
coriander sprigs, to garnish


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the shallot, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the garlic. Mix well to dissolve the sugar, then add the pork ribs and stir to coat well. Cover and leave to marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. Fill a large wok or deep frying pan one-third with oil and heat to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns brown in 15 seconds.
  3. Drain the pork ribs, reserving the marinade. Deep-fry the pork ribs in small batches over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until brown. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  4. Pour the coconut juice and reserved marinade into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the pork ribs, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Increase the heat to medium–high and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the coconut juice has reduced to one-quarter of its original volume.
  6. Add the onion, remaining garlic and a pinch of black pepper. Stir constantly for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat.
  7. Transfer the ribs to a serving platter and garnish with coriander. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
The Food of Vietnam
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