This dish is perfect as a winter warmer. It’s also one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day. Plan ahead for tomorrow, or keep the leftovers, and go to sleep looking forward to eating them the next day.If you want a nice clear broth, it’s important to parboil the ribs, discard the liquid portion and then wash the ribs to remove any scum.
Half a rack of ribs
7 cups of water
1 large or 2 small bitter melons
4 or 5 green or red Thai chillies
3 tablespoons soy sauce with mushroom
large pinch of white peppers
splash of fish sauce
2 cloves of garlic
about 250grams minced pork
small can of pickled mustard greens (optional)
1. Split the ribs up and chop each one in two. Place ribs in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Discard liquid and wash ribs to remove scum. Wash the saucepan too.
2. Place ribs back in the saucepan and add 7 cups of water, soya sauce with mushroom, fish sauce, and white pepper.
3. Simmer for 1 hour.
4. Whilst the broth if simmering, you need to stuff the bitter melon…
5. Cut the bitter melon into sections 2-3 inches long. Push the white pith out and carefully scrape out any remaining pith.
6. Mash the garlic and mix with the ground pork. A tiny drop or two of sesame oil is optional.
7. Stuff the sections of bitter melon with the pork mix. Don’t over stuff.
8. Once the ribs have been in for an hour, add the stuffed sections of bitter melon to the broth, making sure they are covered with broth.
9. You might need to add a little water to make up for evaporation.
10. Simmer very gently for 30 mins. You’ll know when the melon is cooked by gently poking it with a fork. When it’s softened, it’s done. At this point, if you’re using them, you should throw in the pickled mustard greens. They only take a minute or two to cook.
11. Taste the broth. It should be slightly bitter, umami, very slightly salty.
12. Garnish with a sprig of coriander. Server with rice.