Thursday, April 28, 2016




Roasted Boneless Pork Ribs with Tamarind BBQ Sauce 

Most people go into the kitchen to cook something to eat and do not think twice about it. That is not a bad thing; it is just not their passion.  Some people's passion is art, as is the case with my dear friend, Miss Maria.  While she is quite a talented cook, I think her passion is music and her art.  She is a magnificent painter. My youngest son's passion is Everything Disney, and one of my friend's passion is baseball. I have yet another friend whose passion is making beer, and he has make quite the career of it. My passions are teaching, writing, gardening and cooking.  I love it best when I can meld them altogether.  I am talking about passion because people feel their best when they can invest themselves in their passion and fully enjoy it.  When I get into the kitchen on days when I am dog-tired or quite stressed out (as I have been this week) I rather get lost in the process of cooking and simply enjoy each spice, the color and aroma of each herb, each granule of salt, the marble of each cut of meat, the aroma of spice mixes and sauces and searing or grilling meat, the aroma of roasting meats and much more.  I sometimes lose myself in the process and forget all of my troubles.  THAT......is passion. 

Life is not always kind, and we all have problems, be it money or relationships, just to name a tiny few. EVERYONE is struggling with something, going through something and fighting internal battles no one ever knows about. Finding your passion, or A Passion, I am convinced, can help people find a few minutes of peace each day, week or whenever.  In my case, I call it "culinary therapy".  I always feel cleansed, in a way, though I may be smelly and drenched with sweat, after I have completed a meal. I am sure that people who love baseball or another sport do not feel cleansed when their team wins big, but the euphoria is still the same, the satisfaction, with the edorphins working, is still the same. It is Happiness, pure and simple. 

So this Has been a stressful week, and I have been in the kitchen a bit more than usual. I have to admit, I had to force myself and drag my carcass to the kitchen.  Once there, with no dishes to (the death of my passion is having to do dishes), I focused on what it is I had in the frig and the freezer and what I wanted to do.  I decided to go back to my basics and my love for Mexican and middle eastern flavors and I made my Tamarind BBQ Sauce.  I made the sauce Tuesday night with chicken thighs I'd been thawing in the refrigerator, and saved the rest for boneless pork ribs to slow cook for Thursday.  And as I stated above, it was the process that lured me into a groove of peace and complete satisfaction of a job well-done.  Culinary Therapy took my cares away. 

I'd love to share my recipe with you all.  Let's get to it!

Tamarind BBQ Sauce
3 tablespoons grape seed oil, 1 tablespoon separated
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 red onion or one shallot, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed and paper removed
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chile molido
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons or splashes of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic
1/4 cup Tamarind paste
2 cups ketchup
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro 

In a mini food processor, add the onion, garlic and cilantro and pulse.  Add 1 tablespoon of the grape seed oil to the processor and pulse to bring the aromatics together.  Now, add dry spices, the mirin, apple cider vinegar and balsamic.  Pulse until thoroughly combined.  Now, in a small sauce pan or pot, add the rest of the grape seed oil over medium heat.  When the oil ripples, add the aromatics and spices processed mixture and saute for three minutes.  The aroma will be simply amazing!  Next, add the ketchup, tomato paste and the tamarind paste and 1/4 cup of water.  Stir well to combine and allow to come to a gentle boil.  Stir again very thoroughly, as the Tamarind paste needs time to loosen up.  Reduce the heat to low and partially cover.  Allow to simmer away for thirty minutes.  Remove the lid and allow to reduce further for another twenty minutes.  If it is still loose, allow to reduce for ten more minutes. Remove from the heat.  As it cools, the sauce will, indeed, thicken up. 

*If needed, add a teaspoon of corn starch to thicken up the sauce, but it should reduce nicely in that time frame.  However, some stove tops cook differently, depending on location, elevation and such. 

My fully reduced Tamarind BBQ Sauce


Roasted Boneless Pork Ribs Dry Rub
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon season salt
1 rounded teaspoon dried oregano 
1 rounded teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon granulate garlic
1 rounded teaspoon ground cumin or cumin seed
1 tablespoon coriander seed

In a small skillet, toast the spices over low heat. When you can smell their heated aroma, add the spices to a spice grinder and grind them thoroughly. Add them to a small bowl and either with your fingers or a spoon, sprinkle the pork ribs with half of the spice rub, turn, and rub the other side with the spice rub.  Let sit for thirty minutes, uncovered. 

Next, slice two onions into rings or half moons. Spray a large baking pan with non-stick spray and place the onions all over the bottom of pan, flat as possible. Sprinkle with a little salt. This will help bring out the sugars in the onions and help them break down and release flavor. 

Now, time to get cooking!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.



Spices and onions and meat for my Roasted Pork Ribs with Tamarind BBQ Sauce



Sear the seasoned ribs after thirty minutes and place atop the onion bed in the baking pan. 


I have to admit, I had a little of the seasoning left over, so i added it to the onion bed before placing the seared ribs atop them. I also added a little drizzle of balsamic, Worcestershire sauce and grape seed oil over the onion bed, first. 



When all of the ribs have been seared and placed atop the onion bed, drizzle the Tamarind BBQ Sauce atop the ribs, slather them rather, turn, and slather them again.  Now, pull off an exaggerated sheet of aluminum foil and cover the ribs, but make a tent over them; you do not want to firmly cover them.  Before placing into the preheated oven, add a half cup of water. The tent will allow the steam to escape but, will also allow the heat to break down the onions and also steam and braise the ribs.  The process is efficient and the meat, after two hours, falls apart and is incredibly flavorful!

Place the foil tented baking pan into the oven (at 400-degrees) for twenty minutes.  Afterward, reduce the heat to 350-degrees and allow to slow roast for two or more hours.  As mentioned above, the meat will be extremely tender and if you want to shred it, it will shred without force. 


Once done, remove the ribs carefully, as they may fall apart, with tongs or a spider.  There will be quite a bit of fat rendering and liquid at the bottom of the pan.  Also, remove the onions.  That is next. 



Skim about three tablespoons of the fat from the baking pan and add to a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and carefully add the onions. They will be very soft, but, we want more color to them.  Once the heat is up, and onions begin to sizzle, reduce heat to low and allow them to further caramelize for twenty or so minutes until they are deep golden or dark brown.  Then they are ready to serve or store.  I stored my ribs and onions for Friday's dinner. 


Further the caramelization process until the onions are a deep or dark golden color.  Then serve or store.  


I hope you have enjoyed this recipe.  It really is not complicated, and you can accomplish a great deal during the roasting time, or, engage yourself in one of your other passions!  Take a nap, putter in or work in your garden and enjoy how your plants are growing, play with your family, your pets, or just relax and watch your favorite shows.  Cooking is all about LOVE, enjoying the food and your friends and family, loved ones and feeling at peace.  

Now, GO COOK SOMETHING for someone you love!
You deserve the happiness, and they deserve you and the love you can cook for them.  

~Martin