Somehow I lost my groove with food photography and writing about food. Despite work travel wrecking my weekday rhythm a little, I’m still eating great food, trying out new places in the ‘hood. I just haven’t written about it. Oh well, here’s my attempt at exercising my photography and writing muscles. A cook-and-shoot session with Phil is overdue, methinks!
On my last night in Bali last month, my sister took me to Naughty Nuri’s in Seminyak for grilled ribs. After two weeks of diving on the island, and overdosing on tropical fruits and fresh seafood, the latter simply grilled and served with sambal, it was a shock to the system to start eating meat again.
Naughty Nuri’s is known for their killer ribs and twisted martinis. I skipped the martinis and gave the ribs a go. They were juicy, fall-off-the-bone tender, doused in a healthy dose of their signature BBQ sauce, spicy and sweet and sour at the same time. Like many Indonesian meat dishes, they’re cooked in more ways than one. They’re boiled in water with a mix of Balinese spices first, before being charcoal grilled.
When I got to Berlin, I was inspired to try out making ribs. It was a bit of trial and error.
- I made a three-step and two-step approach; the three-step approach involved marinating the ribs overnight, but after different attempts and listening to feedback, I decided it was better without the marinade.
- The two-step approach involves boiling the ribs in broth and then finishing it in the oven.
- The Fleischerei on Invalidenstrasse always sorts me out with lovely Iberico ribs; I tried it with beef ribs and honestly the spices work better with pork.
- I tested this recipe a few times, and it did give me some confusion that an entire family I gave this to did not like it, but oh well… I tested again and again with small adjustments, fed it to people and now I’m happy with the recipe to publish it so, here we are.
I keep making this on a Sunday, when I really just hang out at home doing laundry and pottering around the flat and occasionally taking a walk to get ice cream. Hence, Sunday ribs! I know, I know, I hit writer’s block with dish naming too. Spank me. Make the ribs, invite some friends round, and chase them down with cold, cold beer.
What you need
- 2 litres water
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 3-5 garlic cloves
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 lemongrass stalks
- 3-5 whole star anise
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger root
- 3-5 kaffir lime leaves: great if you can get fresh ones, I used dried
- 1 tablespoon grated galangal root: use dried ones if you can’t get fresh
- 2kg pork ribs, about 3 racks
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- (optional) 1 tablespoon chili paste
- ½ cup Indonesian sweet soy sauce
- 2 limes for garnish
- Steamed rice or fries for serving
Boiling the ribs in the aromatic broth
In a pestle and mortar, crush the nutmeg, garlic, lemongrass and ginger root. Add all the ingredients, including the ribs, into a large flat-bottomed pot and bring the water to the boil. Once it’s boiled, turn the fire down and simmer boil for an hour, or until the meat is about to fall off the bone.
Take the ribs out of the broth and place on a rack over a roasting tray.
Prep the pork for roasting
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. In a small bowl, mix the sesame oil, coconut oil, Indonesian sweet soy sauce and chili paste. I used a whisk to get an even consistency. If you can’t get Indonesian sweet soy sauce, I suggest mixing 1 part brown sugar to 2 parts Kikkoman or salty soy sauce.
Using a pastry brush, glaze the ribs with the soy sauce mixture. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, then re-glaze, using up all the glaze mixture. Turn the top grill/broiler on and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Serving the ribs
Slice up some lime or lemons, and squeeze over the ribs before eating. Indonesians typically eat ribs with steamed rice: we just pick everything up and eat with our hands! I made zucchini fries, paired with a horseradish dip, and served cold cold beers with ours.
Happy end of Sunday! Thanks for reading!