Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mum's Braised Tomato Pork Ribs 妈妈的古早味番茄排骨

Tomato Pork Ribs served on top of rice in a traditional korean bowl.
In the background, korean style pork rib radish soup.

This is a recipe which I picked up from my mum during my recent Xmas trip to Singapore. It was a new recipe she invented recently, I have never tasted this recipe when I was young. Maybe she had already cooked this several times for my siblings in the last 4 years I was away from home, but I never got to taste it. :( But I really liked the dish the first time I ate it, it was so simple and yet delicious, makes me think of my childhood days. :)

I tried replicating this dish last week, based on my mum's recipe. My mum didn't actually tell me how exactly she made this dish, and I didn't want to trouble her over the phone. You know how old folks are when they cook, they will just tell you "agak-agak", like rub some salt (how much? just sprinkle a handful of salt lah) onto the pork ribs (how long? long enough until it's marinated lah) and let it cook for some time (how long? oh, until it's cooked lah)...

You only need 3 ingredients for this dish - salt, tomatoes and pork ribs. And yet you can cook up a storm with these 3 ingredients. It's really simple, here is how it goes.

3/4 tsp fine salt
500g big hard tomatoes, cut each tomato into 2 halves
700g pork ribs (I am using pork ribs with a lot of fatty meat, what they called vleesribben here in Belgium, not those pork ribs with only bones and little meat. )

This is how I put the tomatoes on top of the pork ribs in the beginning.

1. Rub the salt and marinate the meat for at least 1 hour, the longer the better. Rule of thumb is 1 tsp salt for every 1 kg of meat. I removed the rib bones and chopped them into smaller chunks for easier cooking.

2. Heat up a non-stick frying pan to medium-high heat, add in the pork ribs and let the fat sizzle so that the ribs will be fried in its own fat. You can add in a little bit of oil if your wok is non-stick but it's not necessary if you have a teflon non-stick wok. 

3. After a while, once the ribs are browned and slightly cooked, you can add the tomatoes on top of the ribs with the tomato skin facing up (see picture above). Lower the heat, cover with a lid but not completely and let the tomatoes and pork ribs simmer. 

3. The tomato pork ribs are ready when the tomatoes are cooked soft and the pork ribs tender, about 45 to 1 hour. If you don't like your tomatoes to disappear into a gooey red blob, then make sure you choose hard tomatoes, don't cut the tomatoes too small and don't let it simmer for too long. You can serve the dish once the ribs are tender.

This recipe is very easy, right? It's very simple and yet really delicious, do try it!


I am submitting this dish to the Little Thumbs Up event (March: Tomatoes) organized by Mui Mui of my little favorite DIY at this link and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids.

This dish is also submitted to Aspiring Bakers #29:Heirloom and Local Dialect Recipes 家传菜/ 籍贯菜 (March 2013 ) hosted by FHL of Faith Hope Love.


  1. Hi Ms B,

    I laughed seeing your "agak-agak" comment... Grandma and mum is so typically like this. I think experience is their "agak-agak"... LOL!

    I usually think my grandma's food has the extra homely factor that I find it very hard to replicate. Sad that I can ask her much about her cooking anymore :( Do you think you have manage to replicate your mum's homely dish?


    1. I think so, it's nearly there, I only succeeded on my 2nd attempt. But my mum was using skinny pork ribs, which I feel there isn't much meat. My pork ribs on the other hand, had too much fat, belgian pigs must have had a good life, haha!


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