Vietnamese Spareribs with Chile and Lemongrass

Like other Vietnamese restaurants, Nam Phuong in Atlanta serves phờ, but their ribs are the best thing on the menu. The...
Contributor
Vietnamese Spareribs with Chile and Lemongrass

Angie Moser

Vietnamese Spareribs with Chile and Lemongrass

Like other Vietnamese restaurants, Nam Phuong in Atlanta serves phờ, but their ribs are the best thing on the menu. The meat is tender with a crackly exterior. Nam Phuong uses flanken, or crosscut ribs, which are like little rib nuggets, each with a bone inside. You can order different sauces, but my favorite is the chile and lemongrass. To bring you those flavors and textures, I steam-bake the ribs until tender and then broil and baste them with a purée of lemongrass, chiles, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, and sugar. A little rice on the side is perfect. — Kevin Gillespie, author of Pure Pork Awesomeness.

6
Servings
487
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Notes

Asian-style spareribs are cut across the bone, also known as flanken cut. You can find them at Asian markets or have your butcher cut them for you. Ask the butcher to cut the rack of ribs in thirds across the bones.

From Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World by Kevin Gillespie and David Joachim. Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC.

Ingredients

  • 3 ½  Pounds  Asian-style (flanken) pork spareribs, about 36 pieces
  • 2  Teaspoons  kosher salt
  • 10  cloves garlic, peeled, about ¼ cup
  • stalk lemongrass, sliced, about ¼ cup
  • Thai bird chiles
  • ¼  red onion, stem and root ends trimmed, cut into chunks
  • 2  Tablespoons  sugar
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1  Tablespoon  fish sauce
  • 1  Tablespoon  soy sauce
  • lime
  • ¼  Cup  chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Sprinkle the ribs lightly with 1 teaspoon of the salt and place on a broiler pan fitted with the broiling rack or a baking sheet fitted with a cooling rack. Add a ¼-inch depth of boiling water to the pan, wrap the ribs and pan tightly with foil, and cook until the ribs are pull-apart tender, 1½ to 2 hours. Basically, you’re steaming the ribs.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the garlic, lemongrass, chiles, and onions and process for 30 seconds, until well chopped. Add the sugar, ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and continue processing to a coarse paste, scraping down the sides of the food processor a couple times.

Adjust the rack in the oven to the highest setting and preheat the broiler. Arrange the ribs, meat-side up, on the rack and smear with some of the garlic paste. Broil the ribs until nicely caramelized, about 5 minutes. Watch carefully, and when they start getting a little char on the tips, remove and flip them. Smear again with some of the paste and broil on the bone side for about 3 minutes. Flip, smear, and broil one final time so they are nice and crispy on the meat side, about 2 more minutes.

Using tongs, transfer the ribs to a cutting board and cut into single-bone pieces. Squeeze the lime into the pan drippings and stir to combine. Toss the ribs in the pan drippings and serve sprinkled with the cilantro.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
30g
43%
Saturated Fat
9g
38%
Cholesterol
236mg
79%
Carbohydrate, by difference
5g
4%
Protein
51g
100%
Vitamin A, RAE
62µg
9%
Vitamin B-12
1µg
42%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
1mg
1%
Calcium, Ca
56mg
6%
Fiber, total dietary
1g
4%
Folate, total
9µg
2%
Iron, Fe
3mg
17%
Magnesium, Mg
19mg
6%
Niacin
3mg
21%
Pantothenic acid
1mg
20%
Phosphorus, P
172mg
25%
Selenium, Se
70µg
100%
Sodium, Na
2996mg
100%
Water
183g
7%
Zinc, Zn
6mg
75%

Vietnamese Shopping Tip

To find the ingredients you need to cook Southeast Asian cuisine, try to find specialty grocery stores in the Asian neighborhoods in your town.

Vietnamese Cooking Tip

Southeast Asian Cuisine is about the balance of flavors between sweet and sour; hot and mild. When working with Asian chilis, the smaller ones are usually spicier. Handle with caution and care.