It may seem that I’m a gastronomic magpie and in a sense I am. Looking back at the last few weeks, my posts have been all over the map. Literally. I guess you could say that I like variety but no matter if we’re talking Thai, Moroccan, or Spanish, it’s the intense fresh flavors that draw me like a bee to a blossom. This is a tweaked version of a dish my Mom used to cook for me growing up in the frozen north that probably reminded her of a more tropical home. Sườn xào nước mắm literally translates as “ribs stir-fried with fish sauce.” It’s a deceptively simple dish that only had 6 ingredients when my Mom cooked it: oil, short pork ribs, salt, pepper, sugar, and fish sauce. While the succulent bits of pork with crispy edges caramelized from the hot wok and sauce tasted delicious, savory with a hint of sweetness, I’ve found that my tastes have evolved to craving more bursts of flavor: zesty ginger, fiery Sriracha, sweetly smooth mirin rice wine, and garlic is everyone’s BFF (except maybe licorice). We’ve been
panicking doing last minute packing for our tropical holiday so when the house looks like the Tasmanian Devil spent the weekend, having dinner on the table in under 30 minutes is pretty welcome.
1 1/2 lb bone-in short pork ribs or 1 lb boneless country-style pork ribs (I used boneless ribs cuz I’m lazy 😉 )
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp (2 cloves) crushed garlic
1/2 tsp (1/2 inch) crushed ginger
2 tbsp mirin **in this case you can substitute sweet sherry if you can’t find mirin or water with a pinch of brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce (I use Three Crabs brand)
2 tsp packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce
Trim excess fat from ribs. If using boneless pork ribs cut into 1-inch cubes. Season with salt and pepper.
If you have a range hood, turn it on high as the stir-fried fish sauce can get pungent, otherwise opening a window or two couldn’t hurt unless you don’t mind your curtains smelling of last night’s dinner 😉 In a wok or large skillet heat oil over high heat till a drop of water evaporates in 1 second. Brown pork in 2-3 batches on both sides ~2 minutes per side. Remove from wok and set aside. Lower heat to med-hi and stir in garlic and ginger till aromatic ~30 seconds. Add mirin, fish sauce, brown sugar, and Sriracha and simmer briskly till reduced by one half. Return pork and any accumulated juices and glaze in sauce for 2 minutes. Serve with steamed rice. Makes 4 servings.
**With 1 1/2 c steamed white rice the calorie count is 493 with 67.2 g carbohydrates total.