Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Spare Ribs, Suon Khia or Suon Ram Man is a traditional dish of pork spare ribs in a sweet and sticky glaze. The pork is slowly braised until tender and then the liquid is cooked off at the end to get that beautiful thick sauce. I enjoyed this dish as a child very much. Because pork spare ribs was a luxury item, we didn't have this dish too often. When we did, we savored the the dish by gnawing on the bones and licking your fingers clean. In fact, that was the best part of the dish.
Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Spare Ribs Recipe
- 2 lbs pork spare ribs (have your butcher cut them into bite-size pieces)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium size shallot (minced)
- 1 green onion (separate the green and white parts and thinly slice)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon pork stock powder
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and additional 2 tablespoons for the caramel sauce
- 3/4 cup water or coconut juice
- Fill a small pot with water (enough to cover the spareribs when added) then heat to a boil. Add salt and pork. Quickly cook for 2-3 minutes to remove the impurities and off-smell of pork.
- Drain the ribs in a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold running water.
- Marinate the pork with shallot, whites of green onion, garlic, pork stock powder, fish sauce, black pepper and sugar. Let the pork marinate at least 15 minutes (overnight in fridge for best results).
- Add 2 tablespoons of sugar directly into a medium size sauce pot over medium high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon to prevent burning. The sugar will caramelize, turning a dark amber color. Once this happens, quickly and carefully add the marinated pork into the pot and stir evenly. The caramelized sugar may start to clump. Do not worry. The heat will dissolve the clumps of sugar back into the pot.
- Add water or coconut juice and bring pot to a boil.
- Cover pot with lid, turn the heat to the lowest setting and let it simmer for 45-50 minutes. Occasionally toss the pork for even cooking. The liquid should be reduced by 3/4 and thickened.
- Transfer the pork to a serving platter and garnish with the green parts of the green onion and a sprinkle of black pepper.