If you’re familiar with the TV show called Everyday Exotic, you might have noticed its peculiar format. The host chef, Roger Mooking, features what he calls an “obedient ingredient” which he uses to cook two or more dishes in each episode. The obedient ingredient changes from week to week but the format is the same. I’ve cooked some of Mooking’s recipes — we liked some; most we found too bland. I do, however, like the idea of cooking a meal that revolves around one ingredient which serves as the theme. I did that for tonight’s dinner.
Everything that you see in the photo above — pork rib, rice and vegetables — was cooked with coconut milk, the obedient ingredient.
Let’s start with the pork ribs.
The rack of ribs was marinated with the same ingredients I used for the chicken tikka. The meat was roasted on a rack, covered with foil, in a 250F oven for two hours. The foil was peeled off, the heat was turned up to 450F and the pork was cooked on high heat for about 20 minutes. Then, it was allowed to rest for 30 minutes before cutting.
While the pork was roasting in the oven, I cooked the rice and the vegetables.
The rice was cooked — in the rice cooker — with garlic, a little bit of ginger, curry powder, beef broth, salt, pepper and coconut milk. If that sounds like a lot of ingredients, you can make the microwave turmeric and coconut rice.
The vegetable side dish is actually a vegetable curry with eggplants, carrots, potatoes and squash — spicy but not salty so that the dominant flavor was the sweetness of the coconut milk.
I liked the combination. I like the idea of serving these dishes together for a Holiday lunch or dinner. There’s not a lot work involved. If your oven is large enough, two to three racks of ribs can go into the oven at the same time. The rice was a winner — rich but not overpowering. I was especially happy that I chose a very Asian vegetable side dish to go with the pork ribs. Unique, unexpected, distinctive.
Okay, now for the recipe for the roast rack of ribs marinated in coconut milk.
- rack of pork ribs about 2 to 2.5 kilograms
- 3 tablespoons rock salt
- 1.5 tablespoons grated turmeric (or use 1 teaspoon powdered turmeric)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 thumb-sized pieces ginger peeled and grated
- 8 cloves of garlic peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped bird's eye chilies or 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 2 cups very thick coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
Pat the rack of ribs dry with paper towels. Place in a resealable bag.
Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade. Pour into the resealable bag. Seal the bag, pressing out excess air. Put in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to 250F.
Drain the rack of ribs. Place on a roasting rack with a baking dish underneath to catch the drippings. Cover the ribs tightly with foil. Bake for two hours (30 minutes longer won't hurt) at 250F.
Take the ribs out of the oven. Peel off the foil.
Crank up the oven temperature to 450F.
Return the ribs into the oven and roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until nicely browned.
Rest the ribs for at least 30 minutes before slicing between the bones.