pork rib soup

Another delicious winter warmer. Pork ribs are a cheap cut, but can’t be beaten when cooked right. Luckily, cooking them right is easy. Just like with many cheaper cuts of meat, “low and slow” is the order of the day. To get a broth of agreeable clarity, I’d suggest covering the ribs in water, bringing them to the boil, simmering for 2-3 mins, and then discarding the liquid and scum. Put the ribs in a colander, wash them and them follow the recipe below. This reduces the need to skim scum to a minimum, and give a better quality broth. It can even be done twice…

The soup is reminiscent of tom yum, but the ground roast rice and the chilli flakes add a nutty depth that will make your taste buds scream for more.

The quantities used are approximate, and can be adjusted to your particular tastes.


1 kilo pork ribs, split into individual ribs and cut in half

1.5 litres of water

pinch of salt

2-3 long sticks of lemon grass, bruised and chopped into 2-3 inch lengths

thumb sized piece of galangal, sliced thickly

3 or 4 kaffir lime leaves, ripped in half

about 10 Thai chillies

1 shallot, peeled and cut in half lengthways

handful of coriander

3 tablespoons of fish sauce

3 table spoons of lime juice

1 teaspoon of quality Thai chilli flakes

1 teaspoon of ground roast rice


1. After blanching the ribs from a cold water start, place them in a large saucepan, add the water and the salt, and simmer very gently for 1 hour and 10 mins. Skim the scum that forms, if necessary.

2. Add everything else and simmer for another 20 mins.

3. Taste. It should be umami, sour and salty. Adjust with fish sauce and/or lime juice if necessary.

4. Serve in a bowl, with rice on the side.

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