Experiment: Steamed Ribs with Curry Leaves

This will be my first real experiment with Curry Leaves , other than cooking them with rice for the ‘Spices’ post they featured in some time ago ago. After considering a number of possibilities, I decided on a dish that was fairly simple in its flavorings, as I really wanted to be able to experience the full effect of the curry leaves without a lot of interference. The dish I came up with, Steamed ribs, is obviously quite Chinese in spirit, but the flavor palate is definitely East-Indian…

The Ingredients

  • ½ lb. Pork Spareribs
  • ½ a small onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Curry Leaves
  • 2 tbsp. Flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. Turmeric
  • 1 small Red Chili, sliced
  • Pinch Salt
  • ¼ cup Chicken Stock or Water (not shown)

By the way, as you can see in the picture, the ribs were first browned in a little oil. They are still pink inside, though. You can omit this preliminary step if you like (although maybe steam them for a little longer) but I find it makes for a much nicer end result.

The Method

Toss the ribs in flour and then rub it in until it all gets absorbed. Repeat this with the Turmeric and sprinkle on the salt.

Add all the other ingredients and then transfer everything to a steaming dish and sprinkle over the stock, making sure all the pieces of ribs get moistened. If you don’t have stock, you can just use water instead. Now, put the plate on to steam for a good thirty minutes or so until the ribs are tender. Serve hot.

The Verdict

When I featured these leaves in my ‘Spices’ post, I mentioned a component of their aroma and taste that I could only describe as a cross between dark toast and coconut husks. In the raw state, this is fairly mild but while I was steaming the ribs, that quality was really apparent in the aroma and it made the whole kitchen smell wonderful. As for the taste in the finished dish, however, I can’t say that the flavor was very assertive at all. Indeed, unless you actually had a leaf as part of a mouthful, they didn’t add much to the meat itself.  Still, the flavor that was there was quite nice and I look forward to trying the leaves in a few other dishes.

A couple of points… First, contrary to my expectations, the leaves were not at all difficult to chew. They are quite tough, almost like bay leaves, when raw but they became quite tender after cooking. Secondly, I would counsel against trying to follow this recipe as is. The whole point of the experiment was to see how the curry leaves worked in the dish and so it was intentionally a little blander than I would have otherwise made it. You may wish to jazz things up a little with some cumin, coriander seed or black pepper, to suggest a few additions. If you hit upon a nice spice blend for this, please let me know…

 

10 thoughts on “Experiment: Steamed Ribs with Curry Leaves”

  1. Steamed ribs with curry…indeed very new to me! I won’t try this exactly your way, as you said in your last paragraph. I also think that Indian curry is very very hot….If it is mild…here…I really don’t get it…perhaps you need to enlighten me with more experiments with curry …I do like curry very much!

    1. Actually…. Curry is a very imprecise term to describe a whole range of dishes. Some are indeed hot but many are not hot at all. The chili pepper was introduced to India and the rest of Asia from the New world and the variety of curry that is usually amongst the ‘hottest’, the Vindaloo curry, is actually Portuguese in influence…Although the word curry probably derives from a Tamil word, ‘kari’,meaning sauce, the notion of a ‘curry powder’ is really English. India has many spice blends collectively known as ‘Masalas’ (probably as many as there are cooks in India), and not all contain chili at all… thus, in India, you might eat a variety of dishes all with very specific names (some hot, some not) that, outside of India, would be lumped together under the generic word ‘curry’… It is a fascinating study 🙂

      1. I had got some articles on curry in India, written by Indians. I will find them and send over to you…Indeed it is a very interesting topic. Btw, I did not unsubscribe after seeing your naughty tips, I was on a cruise…and therefore missed many interesting posts of the blogs that I used to follow . Catching up now..!!

  2. You find some of the most interesting ingredients! I’ve never seen curry leaves, but I wonder if I just haven’t been aware. I love curry…so I’ll see what I can find. The overall recipe is very appealing to me! You are a very creative cook! Debra

  3. Hmm…very interesting indeed. I have never tried steaming with curry leaves. It is best used in stir fry or simmer in a pot of curry to release the intensity of the smoky flavour of the leaves. I grow one in a pot. I always use 1 whole sprig to get the full curry flavour of fresh aromatic leaves.

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