Thai deep fried pork ribs

This is one of those recipes where you need to be a bit brave. Leaving pork ribs to cure and ferment at room temperature for a few days sounds like a recipe for hospitalisation. But it’s a dish from Thai food maestro David Thompson, which tells you it’s going to enhance, rather than limit, your life. Also, how can you resist any recipe that ends with the line: “Steamed rice is optional, but I think a beer is not!”?

The meat takes a few days to cure, but it’s worth the wait.

Serves 2-3 as a snack.


100g sticky white rice

500g pork ribs, cut into 2 cm pieces

3-4 garlic cloves, peeled

1 tbsp salt

Oil for frying


2-3 garlic cloves, crushed

Handful of coriander leaves

Rice (optional)

Cold beer

Soak the rice overnight and steam until cooked, leave to cool, rinse and drain. Rinse the pork ribs and dry well.

Using a pestle and mortar, grind the peeled garlic cloves to a paste with the salt. Then add the cooked rice and pound everything together until you have a coarse paste.

In a bowl, combine the rice paste and the pork ribs, mixing together well. Then pack the ribs in an airtight environment. I placed a line of ribs together and wrapped in cling film, making sure there was no air in contact with the ribs, then placed each roll in an airtight plastic box. You could also use a sterile jar or plastic container. In Thailand they traditionally use banana leaves!

The pork is cured at room temperature, for between 2-5 days in Thailand. It’s a hot country, so if you live in a cooler climate you may want to leave the pork in a sunny or warm place.

Check the meat after 2-3 days, it should smell pungent but clean and not ‘off’ at all.Once it is smelling good, place the pork in the refrigerator.

To cook, wipe or rinse the pork clean of the paste and deep fry at 170-180 deg C until golden. Just before the end of cooking add the crushed garlic and cook until golden. Drain the ribs and garlic on paper towels. Serve with the coriander, steamed rice and a cold beer.

Thai deep fried cured pork ribs

Recipe from Thai Street Food, by David Thompson, published by Conran Octopus Ltd, 2010.


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