Coffee ribs is one of those must-order zi char dishes. Though the pork ribs in this dish are typically served in bite-sized chunks, I wanted to try serving it as an entire slab of ribs because the way the glaze hugs the ribs in this dish reminds me of American BBQ ribs! And it really worked – was heart-stoppingly beautiful and tasty to boot. I know there would definitely be some of you who would ask if you can bake the ribs instead of deep-frying. Answer is you can – I would bake the ribs in a really hot oven, basting with the glaze as you go, until caramelized, charred in places and cooked through.
Coffee Pork Loin
Pork and its marinade:
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon five spice
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon kecap manis
2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 egg whites
4 heaped tablespoons cornflour
600g pork ribs, membrane removed
For the glaze:
4 cloves garlic, chopped
180g weak coffee
5 tablespoons kecap manis
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoons water
Oil for deep-frying
White sesame seeds, for garnishing (optional)
Lettuce leaves, for garnishing (optional)
Whisk together the ingredients for the pork marinade and coat the pork ribs well. Allow to marinate for 2 hours at room temperature.
Meanwhile, chop the garlic. Set aside. Stir together the coffee, kecap manis, sugar and salt. The coffee that you use for this recipe should not be overwhelmingly bitter or strong. Stir the cornflour and water together separately and set aside.
Fill a pan or wok with sufficient oil for deep-frying and heat over high heat. Carefully add the pork ribs to the oil – adjust the temperature to about 170C so that the pork ribs do not brown too quickly. When the ribs are nicely browned, remove from the heat. At this point, if you’d like a slightly crispy texture like what you get at zi char stalls, increase the oil temperature to 200C and deep-fry the pork ribs for a few more minutes until crispy. Otherwise, skip straight to the glazing step.
Pour the oil from the wok, leaving about 1 tablespoon oil behind. Fry the garlic until fragrant, then add the coffee mixture. Bring to a boil, before adding the cornflour mixture. Cook over high heat until the mixture reaches a syrupy consistency. Return the pork ribs to the wok and baste it with a spoon, turning it over occasionally. When nicely glazed, remove the coffee ribs to a serving platter and scatter over sesame seeds. If you like, garnish with lettuce leaves.
Latest posts by Pamelia Chia (see all)
- Celebrating Diversity in Singapore and Why It Matters - September 22, 2020
- Assam Fish, The Way My Mother Does It - September 19, 2020
- Paper Wrapped Chicken or Cantonese Ji Bao Gai - September 16, 2020