Tuesday, April 8, 2008
One of my kids suddenly fell ill last Sunday and I have been in and out of SMC and the doc's clinic. He's home now and I am so exhausted physically and mentally. Thank you to those of you who called. We so appreciate your prayers and concern. I am reminded of how we can't take health for granted and how things can go wrong suddenly. The last couple of days I found no joy in doing what I love--cooking and blogging--but I'm forcing myself to continue so that I will not feel down. It is not life-threatening, and I am quite a hypochondriac so I worry easily.
I wanted to cook a bittergourd dish that the whole family would eat. I love stir-fried bittergourd with beef but it seems that Ming and I are the only ones who eat that dish. So I asked the grocer at Lido market what I could do with bittergourd that will be a hit even among those who don't like bittergourd. The lady and her friend both recommended that I cook it with pork ribs and bean paste. Wey, who doesn't like bittergourd, actually ate a lot of this dish. If a fussy eater like him likes it, it means it is blog-worthy. I wanted a low-salt dish so I omitted soy sauce but I guess if you aren't bothered about salt, you can add both light and dark soy sauces for the flavor and color. I find that all braised dishes taste better if it's been allowed to sit for a while after it's cooked and this dish is one of those.
Braised Pork Ribs N Bittergourd
1.5 kg baby pork ribs
1 large bittergourd
4 cloves garlic, smashed
a thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger, sliced
2 T Yeo's sweet bean sauce
2 T oil
1. Ask the butcher to cut ribs into small pieces of about 7 cm long. Boil a small pot of water and pour it over the ribs, stir it for a couple of seconds until the meat is scalded white all over, and then drain away the water. This will remove any unpleasant smell and dirt. Cut the bittergourd into large chunks.
2. Put the oil into a heavy pot and fry the garlic and ginger for 10 seconds, then add the sweet bean paste and fry for a minute. Add the ribs and fry for about 2 minutes in medium flame. Add enough water to cover the ribs.
3. When ribs are tender (but not falling off bones), add the bittergourd. Add more water if necessary, just enough to have some sauce. After 15 minutes, test the bittergourd with a fork to see if it is tender. Season to taste with some light soy sauce and add dark soy sauce for color if like. Switch off heat, leave the ribs covered in the pot until serving time. Re-heat and serve. Goes well with plain rice.