Coffee braised pork ribs noodles
Sometimes, I really do miss China-Chinese food.
Especially the dumplings (Jiaozi). The steaming, glistening, juicy, bursting at the brim yummylicious dumplings which are ordered in catties (minimum 2 catties and each cattie serves about 10-12 each- I THINK) and in oh so many flavours. Dipped in vinegar and topped with thinly sliced ginger. Its pure joy to bite into each and every one of them. Think xiaolongbaos at a budget and in abundance (8-10 to share vs. AT LEAST 10-12 per person – for me that is). This is comfort food at its best.
I know there are many festivities where jiaozi are usually eaten in China for symbolical reasons. But, seriously, when in China, there is no need to long and wait for a festival to sink our teeth into such joy. There are restaurants dedicated to serve this wonderful food all year round and I used to eat (alot) of them in winter. Back in Singapore, we get the localised versions of dumplings. Which means its predictable in taste, so gone are my triple flavoured or egg and pork or spinach jiaozi. Oh well.
So, is today’s post about jiaozi?
Nope. I digressed.
Today’s recipe is about-NOODLES. ah well. Why the ramblings about jiaozi then?
Err. Not too strangely, the first food I thought of when I mentioned China-Chinese food is neither rice nor noodles, but jiaozis. Like I said, I miss China-Chinese food, so, erm, it fits because they are all in the same family?
Recipe (for 6 hungry adults)
1.5 kg pork ribs
1 carrot, roughly sliced
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, skin on, lightly smashed
2 celery stalks, diced
1 small bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks separated.
1 star anise
half a cup of rice wine/sake/vermouth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 heaping tablespoons of finely grounded coffee or more/less to taste (i used turkish coffee)
25g dark chocolate (optional)
black pepper and salt to taste
3 stalks of spring onions, chopped
1 red chilli, sliced
(Note that the above herbs and spices are just a suggestion. Feel free to add more or use less according to availability and personal taste.)
In a large heavy pot (dutch oven preferably), heat some oil and sear pork ribs until it slightly brown and caramelised, in batches if necessary. Remove from pot and set aside. Add diced onions and sauté for 2 mins. Add carrots, celery, garlic, cinnamon, star anise and cloves. Fry for about 3-5 mins.
Add the rice wine and allow to boil until the alcohol have evaporated. Arrange the pork ribs in the pot. MIx the tomato paste in 1-2 cups of water and add into the pot. Add more water to just cover the ribs (fine if parts of the ribs are sticking out of the braising liquid). Pour soy sauce over and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low, cover the lid and braise for an hour.
Relax for an hour….
After an hour, open the lid to check the liquid level. If there is enough braising liquid, ladle about a cup out and mix with the coffee powder. If there is not enough braising liquid, simply use water. Pour it back into the pot. Finely chop the coriander stalks and add to the pot. Gently stir the ribs around. Cover and let it braise/brew for 10 mins.
Taste the braising liquid and adjust accordingly (eg add more coffee, remove of cinnamon/star anise, add salt and pepper). Let it braise at low heat for another hour (or at least half an hour).
Relax….meanwhile boil a large pot of water to make noodles (or even pasta!)
By this time, the ribs will be very tender and almost falling off the bone. Make noodles in a large pot of boiling water and drain. Gently remove the ribs from the pot and set aside. Turn off the heat and add chocolate (if using) to the braising liquid and stir to melt. Do a final tasting and adjust accordingly. Add the noodles into the pot of braising liquid and toss to coat.
Serve noodles with pork ribs on top, some poached greens (eg pak choy), finally garnish with coriander leaves, spring onions and sliced chilli.