We all love a good wholesome dish on the table during family meals. Something that is filling yet flavorful is best when you cook it at home. One of the best dishes that can complement a Southeast Asian spread on the dinner table is the Vietnamese Suon Ram.
Vietnamese spare ribs are a delightfully caramelized dish that gives you the same pleasure as eating a barbecue. These pork ribs have tasty and tender pieces of meat that can be a bit of a mess to eat, but it is worth every bit of the trouble.
The dish itself is not too hard to cook once you get some idea about how you can approach it. When cooked right, Vietnamese spare ribs can really make your day. Read on to learn how you can prepare the most authentic Suon Ram most efficiently at home.
All About Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Spare Ribs (Suon Ram Man)
The caramelized meat of Vietnamese Suon Ram is created with the help of a braising method. It has really an amazing balance of sweet and savory tastes that work really well with this type of dish. The flavors meld together to give you a real treat, even though eating the dish can be noticeably messy. The reason why it is so is that you have to pick off the meat from the bones with your hands. But that's just what comes with eating a really good barbecue.
The signature taste of this barbecue is recognized by almost every person from Vietnam. The caramel sauce of the dish is responsible for the sweet and savory complexities in the flavors. No matter what you pair these caramelized pork ribs with, they are quite simply fantastic. And who doesn't love a savory dish that has the perfect balance of every taste?
Other Names for Vietnamese Suon Ram
The sauce or glaze of braised Vietnamese spare ribs will remind you of classic Asian flavors that you may come across at any Asian barbecue. The Suon Ram can be compared with Japanese Teriyaki barbecue. Even though they are not the same, they do have similarities in the balance of tastes.
Suon Ram has many variations in other parts of Southeast Asia. Lots of people love to add pineapple to the dish. This is a brilliant version of the dish as the fruit adds a great sweetness and sour factor to the dish. It enhances the flavors in a really nice way. Other variations add Sriracha sauce for an extra kick of heat. The core idea of the dish - braised, caramelized pork ribs - remains the same across all the versions.
Some other names of the dish are Suon Xao Chua Ngot and Suon Chua Ngot. Thit Kho is also a name of another popular version of Suon Ram.
What does Suon Ram mean?
The name "Suon Ram" has a literal meaning that gives you a direct idea about the dish. The word "suon" translates to "bone" or "ribs" while "ram" translates to "braised". They are very descriptive of what the dish really is and two key aspects of the dish that are crucial parts of its identity.
Tips and Tricks Before Cooking Vietnamese Braised Short Ribs Recipe
If you want to take a healthier approach to this dish than the most traditional one, try to go for coconut sugar instead of regular sugar. Moreover, choose coconut water instead of coconut soda. This gives it an even better flavor.
A really important note for cooking braised pork ribs is to parboil or blanch the ribs in order to any impurities. This also gets rid of the smell of the pork. Moreover, marinating the meat is something that you should do. Marinating helps develop deep flavors and textures which make the ultimate dish even better. Give it at least 30 minutes before you start cooking.
Asian Grocery Store List
The dish consists of a significant number of Asian ingredients that ars quite easily available at any local Asian grocery shop. So take a trip to your nearest one so that you can get the best ingredients for cooking the Suon Ram. Try not to substitute any of the ingredients because they all play an important role in bringing out the final taste and flavors.
Short ribs are very easily available at the Asian grocery store. When buying the meat, ask the butcher to cut the meat "flanken style". This refers to cutting the meat across the bone. Sometimes the stores also have pre-cut and packaged ribs. Make sure that the ribs are cut into 2-inch long sections. One other thing you can look for is meaty ribs that have smaller bones.
The best fish sauce for any dish is one that is the least adulterated with too many ingredients. A shorter ingredient list on a bottle of fish sauce is usually a good sign. The fish sauce should be made from just salt and anchovies. The most recommended brand of fish sauce is Squid brand. Try to find it at the sauce aisle of the Asian grocery store.
One of the best coconut water brands is T.A.S. you should definitely grab a can from the Asian store. Another great brand is Harmless coconut water. If you can't find these, Coco Rico is a good enough option too. However, pure coconut water is more preferable.
Shallots are generally a bit more expensive than regular onions. However, they are worth getting because they have a sweeter flavor that the dish can benefit from. The best part is that Asian stores sell them for a relatively inexpensive price. So buy as many as you can when you are at your local Asian grocery store.
How to Make Asian Vietnamese Braised Short Ribs
Once you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, you are ready to start cooking the dish. As long as you follow each step of this recipe, you are sure to end up with an amazing serving of Vietnamese braised short ribs. Here is everything you will need to make this delicious dish.
- 1 lb pork spare ribs chopped into 2-inch pieces
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced shallot
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon chicken stock powder (or bouillon cube)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ cup coconut water (use soda if you can’t find these)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- The first step would be to blanch the short ribs in boiling water for 3 minutes. This step is done to remove impurities and smell from the pork.
- Next, mix the chicken stock powder, shallot, garlic, salt, and pepper with the ribs. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Move on to making the caramel sauce. Heat some oil on a pan in medium heat. Then, pour the sugar into the pan and move it back and forth in a gentle motion without stirring.
- Keep an eye on the sugar and make sure it doesn't burn. When the sauce turns into a golden caramel, add the marinated short ribs to the pan and evenly coat it with the pan sauce.
- Keep stir-frying till the meat is cooked on the outside. Go ahead and add the coconut water and fish sauce before allowing it to boil and then simmer for 25 minutes.
- Serve with jasmine rice.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 522mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 16g
How to Serve Suon Ram
Vietnamese spare ribs go great with almost anything you desire to eat them with. However, the traditional serving comes with the meat laid on top of fluffy jasmine rice with the sauce spooned on top of it.
The rice goes really well with this dish because it absorbs all the flavors from the meat and the sauce into its grains. It lets the dish shine without overshadowing it with any other flavors or complex textures. You can also add a side of sliced cucumbers for some refreshment to cut down on the richness of the dish.
Preserving Vietnamese Suon Ram
Leftover caramelized short ribs can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. It will last for up to 4 days. If you are planning to freeze the meat, allow it to cool down completely before you do so.
Summary About Vietnamese Suon Ram
Vietnamese spare ribs or Suon Ram is yet another Southeast Asian dish that follows the pattern of not having a very complex recipe or cooking process yet tasting as it does. This dish is perfect for someone who is a fan truly tender meat that has a combination of sweet and savory flavors. It is safe to say that this will be your next big hit once you nail it with the help of this recipe.
If you follow each step correctly, you will definitely end up with a dish that you can win the bragging rights of. Do try to make this at home to share with your family and friends. Once you've mastered this basic version, go ahead and try more variations in the future.
Other Vietnamese Pork Recipes
If you loved this pork recipe, you might check out these other authentic Vietnamese recipes as well!
- Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork
- Banh Mi Roast Red Pork
- Vietnamese Pork Chop Suon Nuong
- Vietnamese Bun Bi Noodles
- Vietnamese Bitter Melon Soup