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Tamarind Ribs

Tamarind Ribs

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This Tamarind BBQ Sauce is in the sticky, goey tradition of finger-lickin', (not the St. Simply cover with double the quantity of water and simmer for a few hours allowing the liquid to reduce by half. The push the contents thru a mess strainer, much the way one would do when making jam.


See more recipes by Marlon Braccia, The Enlightened Cook at

Her high-protein cookbook exclusively on meat, fish and poultry recipes is available as a softcover book or for Kindle on Amazon, for Kindle and on iTunes

For iBook or iPhone app versions, search "Protein Entrees" on iTunes.


  • 1 Cup tamarind sauce
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon pink peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 Cup Alt: 1/2 water + 1/2 tamarind paste
  • 1/2 Cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 Cup oranic apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 6 Pounds baby back spare ribs


Calories Per Serving1386

Folate equivalent (total)11µg3%

The Meatwave

View Recipe

After adverse weather dampened my grilling and barbecue efforts for a bit over the winter, I found it necessary to reach into my archives and resurrect old recipes. One of those was for some cherry smoked and sauced baby back ribs, and when writing up that post, I realized it had been a very long time since I cooked up baby backs instead of my go-to spares. That left me with a desire to make a few racks of these leaner ribs, and my recent Tiki-themed Meatwave provided a great backdrop to do so, where I was able to devise an appropriately sweet and sticky sweet tamarind glaze to make these ribs meld in seamlessly into the overall menu.

Having done my fair share of barbecue sauce reviews, I've noticed that tamarind is a pretty common ingredient in these complex sauces. It makes a lot of sense&mdashthis legume produces a fruit that is very potent and sour, making it well suited to be balanced by the sugars in barbecue sauce and add to the massive amount of layers of flavors already going on. I may start giving it a try in my own sauces, but for this particular application, I was more interested in featuring that tamarind flavor and giving it contrast with minimal ingredients. I ended up using apple juice, dark brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a little ketchup to go with the strong tamarind concentrate, letting the entire mixture simmer down into a thick, sticky glaze on the stove.

Since the sauce was mostly sweet, I created a rub that would add contrasts to those sugars. So I went lighter on the sugar than normal for this rub and instead featured earthier and spicier ingredients like paprika, ginger, garlic, mustard, white pepper, and cayenne.

After removing the membrane from the underside of three racks of baby backs, I coated each liberally with the rub so no piece of meat would be without seasoning. I then got my smoker up and running to 225°F, added in a couple chunks of apple wood, and started smoking these beauties.

Like with most all ribs I make, once they turned a nice mahogany color, I began spritzing them with apple juice. This doesn't really do much for flavor or moisture retention, but instead helps preserve the color and texture of the bark, avoiding it becoming too dark or dense.

In the last half an hour of smoking, I brushed on the sauce. Immediately the racks took on a shiny, glazed appearance, which was exactly what I was imagining ribs served at a Tiki party would look like.

After they were done, they were still wonderfully glistening and I couldn't wait to slice and serve to see how they tasted.

Despite the overly sweet appearance, they did not have that sugar-on-a-stick flavor. A lot thanks for that goes to the tamarind, whose sourness mixed with the honey and brown sugar to give a balanced taste. The soy also played a big role here in amping up the savoriness that tasted right at home with the tamarind. Then there was that rub, which brought a little bit of heat to the party and just enough ginger, garlic, and mustard to add a bite that further kept the sweetness from becoming overwhelming. The ribs ended up being a great tightrope walk between your standard barbecue flavor and something completely different, making this recipe a great choice for your backyard cookout if you want to change things up, but continue on delivering on expectations in a different, and delicious, fashion.

Tamarind Glazed Lamb Ribs Recipe

Despite being a low-meat eater, I do enjoy gnawing on a good rib now and then. Pork ribs are typically what I cook when the urge emerges, but this recipe, adapted from Jennifer McLagan’s Odd Bits cookbook, features lamb ribs. Never had them? You should, especially if you love the gaminess of lamb.

Odd Bits is about trying or revisiting cuts that are often overlooked these days because many consumers gravitate toward tender, boneless meat. If you like rack of lamb, the spare ribs are an extension of it that you may have not tasted. I'm not sure where lamb spare ribs go after the fanciful rack is rendered they ought to be sold right next to each other. That said, lamb spare ribs are wonderful. They have a decent amount of fat so that during cooking, the fat’s rich flavor permeates the flesh. They are also reasonably priced.

Sometimes that lamb goodness can be too much, which is why McLagan’s Asian-inflected recipe intrigued me. The tart-sweet spiciness of the tamarind glaze cuts the gaminess of the lamb. Fish sauce lends an umami undercurrent. Instead of fresh chile in the glaze, I substituted Sriracha chile sauce because it had tart-sweet heat to match the other ingredients. At the table, we tried adding Indian masala chilli sauce to the leftover glaze and it was superb, if not better than Thai Sriracha. Squirts of lime juice further brighten flavors.

Finally, this is great winter fare. The ribs get baked in the oven until tender and then rebaked with the glaze. (Hint: With the advance cooking, it’s great for holiday entertaining.) You could grill the ribs outdoors, weather permitting.

But right now, with the cooler months approaching, cooking up these lamb ribs indoors is a great way to savor them without much fuss. Indoor grilling of the ribs on a stovetop cast-iron grill also works but the ribs don’t get a crisp finish as with cooking in the oven. You can sort of see that in this photo:

Where and how to buy lamb ribs? Find a butcher counter that sells lots of lamb (racks, leg, shoulder chops, etc.) They are likely to break down the bones from a carcass so they’ll have access to the ribs. At my local butcher shop, racks of lamb spare ribs are called “lamb riblets” because they look diminutive compared to pork ribs. Look for bright flesh and fat, and well-trimmed racks. Middle Eastern (e.g., Halal) butcher shops are a good source if your regular butcher is not into lamb.

You don’t have lamb ribs? Try the glaze on lamb chops. You won’t need to pre-roast the ribs. Just brush on the glaze as you cook.

Don’t like lamb at all? Try this with pork spare ribs or baby back ribs. Try goat ribs as they’re less gamy than lamb ribs.

Tamarind Glazed Lamb Ribs

For the tamarind liquid, see the recipes in Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, Asian Dumplings, and the Asian Market Shopper iPhone app. It’s a staple that I make and keep frozen. If you don’t have tamarind liquid on hand, use 1/4 seedless tamarind pulp (sold at Asian markets) plus 1/2 cup boiling water. Break up the tamarind pulp, drop it in a saucepan and add the boiling water, stirring to mix. Let stand for 30 minutes. Then add the other ingredients for the glaze and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a coarse mesh sieve, pressing on the solids.

Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer, 2 as a main course

3 or 4 racks lamb ribs (2 1/4 pounds total)
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
3 tablespoons tamarind liquid
1/2 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha or Masala chilli sauce, plus more as needed
Lime wedges

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325F.

2. Prep each rack. If there’s a papery membrane left on the meaty side, wiggle a knife between it and the fat, then pull it off. Use a cloth or paper towel to give you a good grip. Flip the rack over and use the knife to detach a bit of the membrane covering the bones. Grab the membrane with the cloth or paper towel and pull it off. Do your best to remove most of it.

2. Season both sides with salt, pepper, and five-spice powder. Put them on a rack in a large, shallow roasting pan (it’s okay if they touch or overlap a bit). Add water to cover the bottom of the pan, cover with foil, then bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until you can easily pierce the meat with a knife. The meat will dramatically shrink back from bones. Remove from the oven and cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Or, move right into finishing the ribs with the glaze.

3. To make the glaze, combine the tamarind liquid, sugar, fish sauce, ginger, and chile sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. You should have 1/2 cup.

4. If needed, return the ribs to room temperature. Line a baking sheet with foil and put a rack on top. Reheat the ribs on the rack in a preheated 350F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until hot. Crank up the heat to broil (leave the ribs in the middle of the oven) and brush both sides with the glaze. Set aside any leftover glaze for dipping at the table.

Blast the ribs at the high heat for 10 minutes, turning midway, until crisp. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving with the glaze and lime wedges. Dip a rib in the glaze and squirt lime juice on to cut the gaminess. Add Sriracha or Masala chile sauce for extra punch.

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Morimoto Asia’s Hoisin Sticky Spare Ribs Recipe For ‘Cook Something Bold Day’ Nov. 8

There are more food holidays than we can count, but this one – Cook Something Bold Day – is the perfect opportunity to share one of our favorite new recipes from Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort.

A day designed to encourage us to cook something bold and daring, this recipe takes a little time, but you’ll be rewarded with these messy, savory ribs. Once we tossed in the sauce, we ended with a quick broil for an extra-crispy finish.

Morimoto Asia Hoisin Chili Sticky Spare Ribs

Pork Rib Braise
Full rack spare ribs, about 16 ribs
White onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup freshly chopped ginger
1/4 cup freshly chopped garlic
1/4 cup cooking wine
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup tamarind paste

Hoisin Chili Sauce
1/2 cup hoisin
1 1/2 cups sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup rice Vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Frying and Garnish
Oil for frying
2 cups of cornstarch
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Place ribs in baking pan and add onion, ginger, garlic, cooking wine and oil. Cover with water, then gently stir in tamarind paste.
  2. Cover with foil and bake 3 ½ hours or until meat easily pulls away from the bone.
  3. Remove from oven and cool in braising liquid until cool enough to handle. Slice into individual ribs.

Whisk together ingredients in a mixing bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  1. Heat oil to 350°F.
  2. Lightly coat each rib in cornstarch and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Place on a wire rack to drain and cool slightly.

Toss with hoisin chili sauce, topped with cilantro and serve immediately. (We put them back under the broiler for a few minutes to get extra crisp.)

Tamarind Oven Baked Ribs

Hey ribs lovers! I’m Vianney from Sweet Life and I’m here to share with you a delicious rib recipe, let’s get cooking.

After I got married we moved into our first apartment, it was small-so tiny we had no outdoor space for grilling or entertaining. But at the time this tiny space was in the perfect walking distance location from our jobs, plus the college my husband was enrolled at. Sadly we had to store our grill until we moved to a bigger space.

Lucky for me my mother-in-law share with us her famous rib recipe that tastes like it spent hours in a smoker, but are made in the oven. My husband loved her recipe, so I was glad she was kind enough to share with me. One bite and I was hooked, they were juicy, fall of the bone tender and perfect for entertaining. I have been making these oven baked ribs ever since, even today at our home where we have more than plenty of space for the grill. Why? Because after a long day at work I know all my husband craves is a big plate of juicy ribs. These ribs pair perfectly with Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Zinfandel and are great for weekend entertaining, Sunday dinner or 4th of July weekend.

I use short ribs for this recipe, but feel free to use any cut of rib you prefer. First they are rubbed with spices, baked once before they are drenched in a tangy tamarind based sauce that can be made days in advance. Baked in the oven until tender the results are fall right off the bone goodness. Sweet, tangy and caramelized these ribs are divine.

These tamarind oven baked ribs are lip-smacking, finger-lickin’ amazing! Plus they are ridiculously easy to make and no need to fire up the grill these babies are made in the oven, win-win.

  • 450 g (15 oz.) pork spare ribs
  • 100 g (3.5oz.) shallots, skin peeled
  • 100 g (3.5 oz.) fresh red chilies, seeded and sliced lengthwise
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons taucheo/bean paste, smashed with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, soaked in 1/4 cup water, extract the juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar to taste
  • salt to taste

  1. Heat up a stew pot with 4 cups of water and bring it to boil.
  2. Add shallots, chilies, and pork ribs into the water.
  3. Add taucheo (bean paste) and bring it to boil.
  4. Lower heat to medium or low and cover with a lid and slowly stew the ribs for 1 hour or so, or until the meat becomes really tender.
  5. Add tamarind juice, sugar, and salt to taste.
  6. If it's not sour enough, add more water to the tamarind pulp and extract more juice.

Tamarind-Glazed Ribs Recipe

In a medium bowl, combine cumin, coriander, sugar, ancho chili powder, Mexican cinnamon, garlic powder, and ground black pepper and mix well. On a baking sheet, season pork ribs on both sides with kosher salt, then rub spice mixture on both sides, coating evenly. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least two hours (preferably overnight).

In a 2- to 3-quart saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high until it begins to smoke. Add white onion, ginger, lemongrass, garlic and jalapeño. Cook until onion becomes translucent, about 7 minutes. Add honey, chicken stock, and tamarind pulp. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, then puree in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and strain. Set aside.

Set grill to high heat. Baste one side of ribs with tamarind glaze, place on grill (basted side down), and cook 5 minutes. Baste exposed side, then flip over and cook another 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium- low (or move ribs to top rack) and repeat two more times, until a crust forms and meat is tender, a total of 20 minutes. Remove ribs from grill, wrap in foil, and let sit for 15 minutes. Cut between each bone and serve on a large platter with Jicama and Pineapple Slaw and a bowl of the remaining tamarind sauce on the side.

Lemongrass and tamarind beef ribs

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for lemongrass and tamarind beef ribs.

Lemongrass and tamarind beef ribs


  • 3 beef short ribs (about 2kg), halved to make 6 small ribs
  • 1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 130 gm palm sugar, grated
  • 120 gm tamarind pulp, softened in 125ml hot water for 30 minutes, then pressed through a fine sieve (solids discarded)
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) fish sauce
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) dark soy sauce
  • To serve: coriander, mint, Thai basil, thinly sliced long red chilli and red shallots, and steamed jasmine rice
  • 40 gm (8cm piece) each ginger and galangal, coarsely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 6 golden shallots
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, coarsely chopped
  • 2 coriander roots, scraped



Drink Suggestion: Rich, sweetish stout. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

Honestly, What Can’t Tamarind Do?

The food of my childhood is incomplete without the flavor of tamarind: Cycling to school meant sucking on one of the tamarind candies stuffed in my pockets. Meeting friends for paani puri, a crispy fried dough filled with a medley of chutneys, including the ubiquitous tamarind chutney, was a weekly affair. And on the long train journey from Pune in western India to my hometown in Tamil Nadu, I eagerly dug into the South Indian dish puliyodharai, tamarind rice wrapped in a banana leaf parcel.

In Indian cuisine, tangy tamarind plays many roles. It acts as a preservative, a cooling agent, and a remedy—its paste relieves the itchy mouthfeel that comes from eating tubers like yam and taro. It’s also sour and sharp as Saee Koranne-Khandekar explains in her book Pangat, a Feast, tamarind plays a crucial part in balancing flavors. When added to the lentil vegetable stew sambar and to other curries like puli kuzhambu, which consists of vegetables like moringa pods, eggplant, or okra cooked in a tamarind base, its sharpness contrasts with the spices.

Because tamarind comes in so many forms and is consumed in countless ways, below, I’ll walk you through its wide usage in Indian cuisine as well as its excellent benefits (tamarind is also an important ingredient in Southeast Asian and Central and South American cuisine).

Widely used in India, tamarind is a plump pod-like fruit with a sweet, tangy flavor that is indigenous to tropical Africa. The word tamarind itself is derived from the Arabic tamar hind, meaning “Indian date.” When the fruit is mature, the pods are opened and seeded to reveal the dark chocolate flesh, a staple in Indian cuisine.

But every part of the tree is useful: The leaves are used as an anti-inflammatory in home remedies the wood is harvested for carpentry and the seeds are pieces in playing traditional Indian board games.

You’ll find tamarind in several forms some are interchangeable in recipes while others are not great substitutes. Raw tamarind, for example, cannot stand in for ripe tamarind as the flavor and texture are significantly different.

Unripe green fresh fruit: Super tart and sour, it’s chopped for pickles and chutneys without being seeded.

Brown ripened fruit or pulp: Tamarind comes in whole pods but is also commonly sold in Asian shops as blocks. The fruit serves as an excellent marinade for meats and seafood. Before pan-frying fish, I’ll glaze it with a paste made from a small piece of ripened tamarind, green chiles, chili powder, turmeric, and onions. The ripe fruit is also added to a wide range of chutneys.

Paste, concentrate, or extract: Ripe fruit in a more user-friendly form, these can be bought from the store or made at home. To do it yourself, soak the tamarind pulp in hot water, remove the fibers and seeds, and squeeze to extract the dark, smooth paste. It has a long shelf life when refrigerated and acts as a souring agent in meat and vegetarian curries and as a natural coolant for the body.

Chutney: Store-bought tamarind chutney or sauce should not be confused with paste or concentrate as it comes already sweetened and seasoned.

Powder: When added to candies, beverages, and snacks, this dehydrated form of the fruit gives a much-appreciated extra punch.