I am doing this experiment to test out the Galingale Curry Paste I prepared for a post a few days back. In South-east Asia, particularly Thailand, curries are almost always made with a pre-made spice paste and then coconut milk is generally used to form a sauce. Water, or stock, can also be employed and the sauce can vary from being ‘soupy’, very thick, or, in the case of ‘dry curries’, not much more than a thin glaze on the main ingredients. This experiment will be a dry curry…
- 2 lbs. Pork Ribs cut into 2” sections;
- 5 tbsp. Galingale Curry Paste;
- 2 tbsp. Sugar;
- 1 tbsp. Thai or Vietnamese Fish Sauce;
- 3/4 cup Water (not shown); and,
- 1 large bunch of Basil.
The ingredient list is fairly simple for this experiment, as I want to particularly showcase the curry paste. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of following my paste recipe yourself, you can substitute any commercial red Thai Curry Paste you like, but be sure and adjust for the salt content, bearing in mind that the Fish sauce will add a fair amount itself. My paste is somewhat salty, but the quantity of sugar will offset this somewhat.
Put the ribs into a bowl and mix well with 2 tablespoons of the curry paste, rubbing the mixture well into the meat. Set them aside for at least two to three hours.
Next, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spread the ribs out in a large baking tin so that there is space between each of them. Bake for twenty-five minutes or so until the ribs are nicely golden and just cooked through.
I should note, here, that his step is not one you will commonly see in Southeast Asia, where the ribs (or other main ingredients) would be fried in the primary cooking pan, but this method works especially nicely with ribs and has the advantage of allowing you to do other tasks while they are cooking.
Once they are done, drain off excess fat set the ribs aside for the time being.
Heat your wok to medium and add a good 3 tablespoons or so of oil. When it is hot, add the sugar and the remaining curry paste and stir until the fragrance arises and the paste just starts to separate out from the oil again.
Now add the ribs, the fish sauce, and the water and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the ribs are tender and the liquid is almost fully absorbed and just a fairly thick sauce remains.
Lastly, add the basil leaves and stir until they are just wilted. Plate the ribs and serve immediately.
I served the ribs with some turmeric-spiced rice fried with tiny shrimp and radish greens and the entire meal was very nice. To be quite honest, although I am fascinated by Thai cuisine I don’t often eat in unless I cook it myself. I dislike the ubiquitous cilantro in Thai cookery and I also find that the galangal and lemon grass are far too assertive in most curry sauces, whether in restaurants or commercially canned products. I even tend to forego the use of dried galangal at home, or else use it very sparingly, but I have to say that the fresh version, which I used for the first time in the paste for this experiment, was quite a revelation. The paste was very well rounded and pleasantly aromatic without having any harsh notes. It was quite mild, and a little more chili might have been nice, but I think it will be a great starting point for the spice component for all sorts of dishes. This experiment was a happy success and I am very pleased with the paste so far…