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Even world-class cookbook authors like Andrea Nguyen use the Instant Pot from time to time.
When the Santa Cruz-based Vietnamese cooking expert has a hankering for Viet-style ribs but is short on time, she uses pressure cooking to quickly steam St. Louis-style ribs to tenderness, then broils them with a light sweet-spicy glaze.
This recipe from Nguyen’s new book, “Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors” (Ten Speed Press, $25), is delightful with a side of fresh jicama slaw.
Andrea Nguyen’s Pressure Cooker Honey-Glazed Pork Riblets
5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Brimming ⅓ cup coarsely chopped shallot
1½ teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon packed light or dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Rounded ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ tablespoons fish sauce, divided use
2½-to 3-pound slab St. Louis-style pork ribs, sawed through the bone into 2 long strips
3 tablespoons honey
1½ teaspoons sriracha
Pour 1 cup water into a 6-quart pressure cooker or multicooker. Place a stainless-steel steamer basket (use a perforated metal insert designed for a pressure cooker or a large collapsible steamer basket) inside the cooker.
In a small food processor, combine the garlic, shallot, five-spice powder, brown sugar, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon fish sauce and whirl together, pausing to scrape down the sides; add ½ teaspoon water, if needed. (If you don’t have a processor, mince the garlic and shallot, then combine with the other ingredients.) Transfer the marinade to a large bowl.
Halve each rib strip between two bones so they’re more manageable. Add to the marinade and use your fingers to coat well.
Put the ribs in the prepared pressure cooker, arranging them in the steamer basket somewhat loosely to facilitate even cooking. (I stand the strips to resemble a tepee; you may coil them too.) Lock the lid in place. Bring to high pressure, adjust the heat to maintain pressure, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, depressurize naturally for 10 minutes and then release the residual pressure. (If using a multicooker, program it to cook at high pressure for 15 minutes — do not use the steam function — then turn it off or unplug it and depressurize for 15 minutes before releasing residual pressure.)
While the cooker depressurizes, set an oven rack in the middle position and heat the broiler, so it’s nice and hot. Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil and place a rack inside.
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In a small bowl, combine the honey, sriracha and remaining 1½ teaspoons fish sauce and stir to mix.
Unlock the cooker and using tongs, place the ribs, bone-side up, on the prepared pan. Brush the ribs with some of the honey glaze, then broil for 4 to 5 minutes, until sizzling and browned here and there. Flip the ribs and repeat the glazing and broiling. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then brush on any remaining glaze for extra shine. Cut between the bones. Serve the ribs hot, warm or at room temperature.
— From Andrea Nguyen’s “Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors” (Ten Speed Press, 2019)
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