Thursday, 19 June 2014

Pai Kut Soh (Sweet and Sour Tamarind Pork Ribs)


I want to be a housewife. That's what an ex-colleague of yesteryears always said whenever she was stressed out at the office. Then someone would always pipe in "You think housewife very easy, ah?". Esther C, you are probably one by now. Either that or you are now a partner in one of the big four accounting firms. Whichever side you are on, I salute you!


Now my turn. I want to be a housewife. ghee...hee..hee..hee... Anyone dissenting please say something. Anything. No...No....No lah, don't...Why lah...No, no, no, Noooooo....!!!! Now, which one of you said that? I really don't know what it is like to be a housewife but judging from my mum's level of stress when my brothers and I were kids, I would say that it is just as stressful as running an accounting firm. No? OK, it is more stressful than running an accounting firm. Don't worry, I am just suffering from burnout at work and in need of some form of escapism hah...hah...hah...



Whatever it is, the grass is always greener on the other side, or so it seems. I for one have a lot of respect for housewives. You juggle the husband, the kids, the tuition rounds, the house, the budgeting, the marketing, the cooking, the baking, the cleaning or in other words, you Madam, are a multi-purpose vehicle. And not only that, you blog too. Salute!



So you are wondering, why didn't I choose to become a housewife? I really didn't have a choice to start with. Straight from the university I was propelled head on into my career path with nary a husband in sight muahahaha!!!! I once met a Tan Sri who complained about his youngest daughter. She has got this degree, that degree, all sorts of degree and an MBA. But husband, tarak (zilch)! I am sure Tan Sri need not worry too much as I am sure his daughter is happy where she is. 



Enough about my wildest fantasy and back to my cooking. This recipe comes from The Terengganu Peranakan's Cuisine. It turned out to be a very aromatic and very tasty dish. The only set back was that I should have been a bit more conservative with the bean paste (taucheow) and my dish ended up very salty. The recipe said 3 tablespoons of taucheow which I reckon means 3 level and not heaped tablespoons. I should have known better and will take note the next time I cook this dish again. 

I am certain this dish is not exclusively Terengganu peranakan as I have come across other variants. Some include ginger and ground dried chillies. Whatever it is, it is a dish worth cooking. You can also try it with sliced pork belly.










Pai Kut Soh
Recipe source : The Terengganu Peranakan's Cuisine
(My notes in red)

Ingredients :
- 500g spare ribs, cut into 4cm length (I used about 600g)
- 25g seedless asam/tamarind paste mixed with 250ml water (I used 1 tablespoon asam paste)
- 1 tsp sugar (I omitted)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp cooking oil
- Salt and msg to taste (I omitted)

Pounded paste :
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoom bean paste/taucheow (use 3 level tablespoon  or it will be too salty)
- 4g white pepper
- 50g palm sugar

Method :
1. Marinate spare ribs with the pounded paste for 1 hour or overnight.
2. Heat oil, stir fry garlic until fragrant.
3. Add marinated ribs and stir fry for 3 minutes.
4. Add asam paste, salt, sugar and msg.
5. Continue to simmer over medium heat until gravy thickens and spare rinds become soft and tender (It took me more than 1 hour. During the last 10 minutes, the gravy became dark and thick).
6. Serve hot.





This post is also linked to Cook-Your-Books #13 hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.

53 comments:

  1. Tamarind? Hmmmm...I can imagine how nice that is - sweet and sour plus the fragrance and taste of asam.

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    1. Yes, tamarind in this dish gives it the sourish taste. Too bad that I added too much taucheow and made it so salty!

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  2. When I see pai kut soh, I think of pai kuat wong Also pork ribs in sweet sauce, those real sticky sweet yummy sauce.. But very less meat la, coz it's the pai kuat part ma.. But not cheap..
    Housewife? When I was younger, I always say I'd wanted to be a housewife. But now, with two kids, I opt for going to work.. When I'm at work, I can relax my mind a little.. If I'm at home, I don't have rest time, no me-time, and all the time will be used to takecare of the kids, clean the house, cook and clean.. Really, I believe we tend to do more at home, than we are at work..
    When I'm stressed out at work, or when something happened at work, I will also have this "I wana resign and just stay at home" mindset, but when the "attacks" come when I'm alone at home (with the kids), I wish I'm back at work like right away..
    I drafted my post on the attacks, but still thinking when to hit the "publish" button..

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    1. Louiz, I love pai kuat wong! If it is on the menu, mesti order punya. I guess I only like the "stay at home no need to go to work" part of being a housewife hah..hah...But I can't just choose what I like and leave out the rest, right? Everything comes in one package, the good and the not so good. Working gives me financial freedom and I can buy what I like. I would like to read your post on your anxiety attacks, but of course only when you are ready to share.

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  3. What lovely ribs! I'm suddenly VERY hungry. And I hope the former co-worker is a happy homemaker now!

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  4. Your pai-kut looks very appetising indeed PH. Tamarind in the pai-kut? Must try. Coming back to housewife - whenever people asked me what I do, I'd answered "I am a full-time housewife". They look at me enviously (I think) and said "oh you don't work?" What?! I am sure we all as housewives know how 'hard' we work ;-)

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    1. Hi Veronica! hah...hah...I think people think that it is very relaxing as a housewife because you don't have to get up and go to office and deal with all those paperwork and deadlines. But you do have your work at home which is different but just as challenging or even more so!

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  5. woa, I need a bowl of white rice now!

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    1. Sure, Jess! I give you a big bowl :)

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  6. Haha Phong Hong, r u sure u want to be a housewife? Not easy at all, it's like a 18-hour job with no pay LOL!! I think working is much much easier despite the occasional stress :P

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    1. Hi Yen! I am sure I can't handle being a housewife hah..hah...I only like staying at home but housewife has to do a million and one things and I tend to forget about that part hah,,,hah,,,

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  7. If you become a housewife for years, you will eventually want to go back to work in the office. You admire those office career ladies wearing nice clothes and heels; whereas housewife sweat out doing all those never ending chores!! I think this dish of yours is also one of the delicious dish. Will try it out one day.

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    1. Hi Mel! Yah, I know of housewives who can't wait to come out and work. So, don't worry, I will continue with my job hah...hah....

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  8. hahaha, you want to be a housewife also?? probably a Desperate Housewife?? kekekekeke.. okay back to the dish.. i keep on reading Pai Kut Soh repeatedly, trying to figure out what it would be in Chinese and trying to link it to sweet and sour tamarind pork ribs, but tarak jalan lah, hahaha!! Pai Kuat Ching (very skinny and boney people) i heard before lah, or this Pai Kut Soh means an Ah Soh who sells Pai Kut?? hihihi, lame joke i know~~ :D

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    1. I wana laugh at SK's comments..
      Here, mum calls it "pai kuat suen"... Ribs steamed in tauchu+asam water, with cili..
      But I like pai kuat wong, the sweet and sticky one when we go eat in restaurants "kiu soong"..

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    2. SK, hah...hah....actually I also don't know what the "soh" part means. But I have come across a similar recipe called "pai kut sui" the "sui" meaning sour - something like what Princess Ribbon mentioned except that it is braised and not steamed. Me too crazy about pai kuat wong. But I haven't tried cooking it at home.

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  9. okay, back to the dish *again*.. i like this, i mean i do not like things in watery gravy but this one macam rendang style, the thick gravy wraps just nicely and can lick it away before tasting the pork ribs itself, haha!! so nice to go with a bowl of rice, or even can go with some kon lo mee hor, the gravy can use to toss the noodles also hor?? did you save the gravy up?? hahaha.. but one thing i don't like.. so many spring onions!! OMG, i faint, i will take 20 minutes to pick them away one by one (while salivating) before i can savor the ribs~~ :D

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    1. Ooohh, one thing I know about SK today.. SK doesn't like "choong"? I thought you love it coz you are "choong ming" (clever).. People say ahh, if clever means eat a lot of "choong"... hahaha..

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    2. Ah...SK, I forgot that you don't like spring onions and coriander. I wonder why? For me I love those things lah, makes the dishes more fragrant and tasty. So for you, must take out your protion first then only can tabur all the spring onions. My partner's daughter also same gang like you. When we eat fish porridge, our girl will pick up all the spring onions and dump it into her dad's bowl. tsk..tsk...tsk...

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    3. Oh forgot, that was all the gravy that I had. This is quite a dry dish but the gravy is adequate for tossing with noodles.

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  10. Very tempting Pai kut Soh! wish I can try it!

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    1. Hi Aunty Young! This is a very tasty dish. Hope that you try it!

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  11. Hi Phong Hong,
    You are righto! Being a housewife is definitely not a bed of roses! Especially when one has to get up at 4.45am from Mon to Sat during school days! Haha!
    That is a very nice dish, I should imagine it would be good with pork belly too! Just the dish to eat with two bowls of rice! :)
    Thanks for sharing with CYB!

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    1. Hi Joyce! I absolutely salute you! hah..hah..But I am slightly mad and I wake up at 4:00am hah,...hah...But of course I don't have to do all the stuff that you do. Anyway, yes, this recipe also works well with pork belly. After I tasted it, I remembered that my auntie has cooked this before but with pork belly.

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  12. Can't agree more about the bit on the grass being greener on the other side :)) I have been changing hats for a few years already, i go under employment for a year or so, then i take a break, then when i feel i miss the other side, i go back again...ultimately both sides have their own challenges. Coming back to the dish, this is the first time i am coming across something like this, must be very appetizing, i find the combination of taucheow and asam very interesting. Will give it a try one day.

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    1. Well, then you have got a well rounded taste of both sides of the fence! You are right, both sides have their challenges. Can't have our cake and eat it too, huh? Do try this dish because it is very delicious. If you don't fancy ribs, pork belly is an ideal substitute.

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  13. Hi Phong Hong, when I first saw this post, I thought the ribs have to be deep fried. On reading further, I told myself, oh no problem I can cook this dish lah. Is this something similar to Babi Sioh or Ayam Sioh? Not only housewife looks after their husband and children, we working women have to look after our job, husband, family and our old folks [parents and parents in-law]. Really tough.. I still prefer to work cos' you can take leave from your job but can't take leave from your housework. Whatever it is, planning is very important.

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    1. Hi Kimmy! I have heard of babi/ayam sioh but never eaten or cooked it! I think you will like this dish. I agree with you, not easy to work plus manage a family especially taking care of the old folks as well. I suppose you are very well organised to get your cooking/baking done together with your other household duties. Bravo!

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  14. This is so tempting, wish it's right in front of me, hehe...

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    1. You will have to cook it hee..hee...

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  15. wokay...tmw go pasar buy pai kut

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    1. Good. good! Don't forget to tayang in your blog. Very easy to cook and nice to eat!

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  16. When I fed up for being a housewife, I will complain to hubby, then hubby will say last time when you were working, you also said too stressful too, hahaha. Eh, I think I never see sweet & sour tamarind pork ribs before, special special. I think I can eat this with lots of sauce on my bowl of rice!

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    1. Hi Jessie! We always want what is on the other side. Or rather we only choose to see the good parts only but when we are there, aiyah we realize that the other side of the fence also got stress hee..hee...Try this tamarind pork ribs. Very delicious!

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  17. Hi Phong Hong, your dish reminds me of my late mom's cooking that I liked & missed most : her chilly assam fish (of course I take only the gravy & pineapple) and the gardo gardo peanut sauce that she would used some assam juice & all spices & ingredients were made from scratch. My parents were Indonesian Chinese and her cooking were rather unique those days. Too bad I didn't inherit her culinary skills (regretted). But lucky to have my eldest sis ... occasionally I could sample some of those "close to mom's dishes".

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    1. Hi Karen! It is never too late to pick up on your mum's dishes. You can get the recipes from your sis. Let's see some on your blog :)

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  18. Hi Phong Hong, This pai kut soh looks so delicious. Share some with me, please :D

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    1. Hi Ann! I would gladly share with you!

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  19. This looks amazing! Makes me wonder why I don't cook with meat more often...

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    1. Cathleen, your are the reigning dessert and cookie queen! You don't specialize in meats hah..hah...

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  20. I love pork. I love pork ribs. I love assam. Enough said? Share with me Phong Hong! :P

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    1. Diana, I would be glad to share with you!

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  21. Please think twice before you want to become housewife, we are working 24hrs , hahaha! Can imagine how tasty is this pork ribs dish with the ingredients used.

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    1. Hi Sonia! I cakap-cakap only hee..hee..probably resign after two days hah..hah...

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  22. Hi PH, I had tried being a housewife for a few years...it was ok initially, but after a while I started yearning for some company lol! So better stay where you are and just take long leave if you can lol! I seldom cook so I shall just drool over your delicious pork ribs:D

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    1. Hi Jeannie! I will take your advise and take some time off during Hari Raya hah..hah...

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  23. Hi Phong Hong, I think I am happy with what I am. I for sure, do not wish to be a full-time housewife. Eh, love your pai kut soh. The pic itself already looks so tempting and irresistible, This is great to go with plain porridge. would love to give this a try one day. Thanks for sharing, Phong Hong. Don't worry, you should thank God that you are not a desperate housewife, hahhaa..

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    1. Hi Ivy! Thank you for your very frank assessment on the housewife issue :) Don't worry, there is no chance of me becoming a housewife. That's what my partner said. hah...hah...hah....

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  24. Hi Phong Hong, very tempting pork ribs..

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  25. What a tempting dish! I would love to have the sauce with rice.

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    1. Mich, the sauce is very tasty. Try it!

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