Vietnamese: Pork Rib Braised (Thit Suon Ram)

Dishes I enjoy are usually the saucy ones like Memphis Style BBQ with a thick layer of BBQ sauce or good old fashion spaghetti with simple tomato sauce so I can slurp. I grew up with mommy home style Vietnamese cooking. Is it traditional, maybe? I know she loves to explore and add her flare to it. One of my favorite Vietnamese dishes is called Thit Suon Ram, also referred to as Pork Spare Rib Caramel Braised. Today, I will share with you my version. It was derived from what I was shown from my mother, a little research of other styles, and my own finishing touches to it. Each chef has something about their cooking such as Rachel Ray enjoyed using extra virgin olive oil. For me, I enjoyed a lot of garlic, onions, and spices! Yummy!

2 lbs Pork Baby Back Ribs
2 Thai Chili minced
4 shallots minced
2 whole garlic minced
3 tablespoons of fish sauce
4 tablespoon of black pepper
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of Honey
3 tablespoons of cooking oil
1/2 can of Coconut Soda (I use Coco Rico brand)
5 tablespoon of Maggie Seasoning
Side Note: For those who don't know what Maggie Seasoning is, it is made by Nestle and very popular in Vietnamese usage due to the French influence. It is similar to Soy Sauce in a way. There are may versions out there, but I find the one made in France or made in Switzerland to be best tasting. 

Tip #1: If you have a food processor / chopper, put the shallots, garlic, and Thai chili together to blend. It will save time and evenly distributed the flavor.

Tip #2: If you don't have Coco Rico, you can use Coca Cola! I've tried with that before, came out pretty nice. The whole idea is there is corn syrup in Soda. This will give it a nice golden caramel at the end. I prefer Coco Rico because of the coconut flavoring.  

Let's Start Cooking!
  • Clean and cut the pork baby back ribs into small 1" cubes. You could have the butcher to slide it horizontal through the bones for easier cut at home. 
  • Boil the ribs in a small pot at medium heat with 2 tablespoons salt until it is almost tender (approx: 20 minutes). Then drain out most of the liquid leaving just the ribs and maybe about 1/4 of liquid left for cooking. 
  • In a wok or large sauce pan, stir fry in the garlic, shallots, and Thai chili in oil until they are clear in high heat (approx: 30 seconds)
  • Toss in the ribs with all the liquid you had earlier and combine the rest of the ingredients. Stir fry for a few seconds and lower the heat to medium-low. Let it simmer and braised in the sauce while it is being reduced. (approx: 20 minutes)
  • Once you notice the meat is soft, bring the heat up to high so burn off most of the liquid and start to caramelize around the meat in a nice dark color. So let it burn too long or you will have an unpleasant burnt taste. 
  • Plate in a nice dish and garnish it with some greens, serve with Jasmine Rice
Pictures taken with Samsung Galaxy S phone:

I would love to hear your thoughts and version of this. Please do share! Until Next Time!
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