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Honey Glazed Baby Back Ribs with Thai Basil, Mint & Crispy Lotus Root

Craig Koketsu / June 2011

For 5 family-style servings (requires advance preparation)

Baby back ribs:
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 5 1/2 Tbsps. salt
• 4 Tbsps. black pepper, butcher ground
• 5 racks baby back ribs
• 6 qts. chicken stock
• 4 cups Sprite
• 5 1/4 oz. fresh ginger, smashed
• 2 stalks lemongrass
• 1 bulb garlic, smashed

  1. Mix sugar, salt, and pepper in small bowl; rub all over ribs; envelop in plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight.

  2. Heat oven to 325°F.

  3. Remove ribs from refrigerator; remove any excess cure; divide ribs among deep 6" hotel pans; divide stock and Sprite among pans (should fill 3/4 of each pan); divide ginger, lemon­grass, and garlic among pans; cover with aluminum foil; cook 2 1/2 hours; remove from oven; cool completely; remove ribs from cooking liquid; cut into individual ribs; reserve.

• 4 cups white wine vinegar
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 4 cups honey
• 1 cup fresh ginger, roughly chopped
• 1/4 cup garlic/chili sauce
• 1 bulb garlic, smashed

  1. Bring vinegar and sugar to a boil in large pot; reduce by 50 percent; stir in honey, ginger, sauce, and garlic; simmer 15 minutes; remove from heat; strain through fine chinois into a bowl; cool; reserve.

Spicy lime sauce:
• 1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
• 1 cup sweet chili sauce
• 1/2 cup fish sauce

  1. Whisk all ingredients in a bowl; reserve.

• canola oil (for frying)
• 3 Tbsps. fish sauce
• 1 1/2 Tbsps. fresh lime juice
• 2 Tbsps. unsalted butter
• 15 Thai basil leaves
• 15 mint leaves
• lotus root chips (for serving)

  1. Heat oil in deep fryer to 350°F.

  2. Cook ribs in batches until brown and crispy; remove with tongs; place on serving platter; reserve (keep warm).

  3. Place 3/4 cup glaze in large sauté pan; reduce until thick and syrupy; add fish sauce and juice; mix well; add butter, swirling in pan to emulsify; add more fish sauce or juice if needed; add reserved ribs; carefully toss to coat; remove from heat; reserve (keep warm).

  4. To serve, place basil and mint in small bowl; drizzle with 1 Tbsp. spicy lime sauce; toss; stack ribs on serving platter; top with herbs; garnish with lotus root chips.

What to drink: Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon