We’ve made these spicy, sweet and only slightly sticky ribs several times, adjusting the recipe (and accompaniments) as we’ve gone along. We started with something called “Chinese Style Honey Mustard Lamb Riblets” from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s 1993 Rose’s Melting Pot: A Cooking Tour of America’s Ethnic Celebrations. Beranbaum says she based her version on “the memory … [her] husband had of his favorite chicken wing dish in a Chinese restaurant in Toronto,” so we knew we were already starting fairly far afield from whatever actual Asian dish this may have been based on. We adjusted the seasonings a bit (it is a given that any recipe calling for garlic in Gourmandistan gets at least a double dose) but our major change was upgrading the meat ration by changing “riblets” to a full slab of lamb ribs. That way, you see, we get more meat.
The curry powder (at least the kind we’re currently using) gave the ribs a flavor that seemed close to the India-China border. We tried an assortment of Indian sides and enjoyed them, but thought Asian flavors seemed to work just a bit better. We’ve long liked this slaw adapted from Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook (you know: the folks who brought Americans pre-washed salad greens) for both its sort-of-Asian-by-way-of-sesame-oil “fusion” flavor and its simplicity in preparation.
Possibly paired with some Asian-ish potato thing (we made this delicious Japanese potato salad, without the ham), it makes a nice meal with the ribs. Is it authentic? Probably not—unless you’re a citizen of Gourmandistan.
HONEY MUSTARD CURRIED LAMB RIBS
- 1 rack lamb ribs
- 1/2 c. honey
- 1/2 c. Dijon mustard
- 2 TB curry powder
- 1 TB soy sauce
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. minced ginger
- Red pepper flakes to taste
Cut the lamb into individual ribs, removing the most obvious fat and sinew. Place in a large pot and cover with water. Boil for 30 minutes, skimming from time to time.
While ribs are boiling, preheat oven to 325° F and make sauce by combining all remaining ingredients.
Drain ribs. Place them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet covered with aluminum foil.
Spoon half the sauce on the ribs. Bake for 30 minutes.
Turn ribs and spoon remaining sauce over. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.
(adapted from Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook)
- 3 TB toasted sesame oil
- 3 TB rice vinegar
- 1 TB sugar
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. Asian chile garlic sauce
- 1 TB finely grated fresh ginger
- splash of soy sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake.
- about 3 c. shredded cabbage (can be red, green or Napa, or a mixture thereof)
- 2 carrots, shredded or grated
- a handful of thinly sliced or chopped allium (scallions, mild onions and/or garlic chives)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and slivered (optional)
- a handful of currants or raisins
- a handful of peanuts or cashews, roasted and cooled
- a few TB of toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Place vegetables and currants or raisins in a large bowl. Pour dressing over and toss. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat, but no more than several hours. Just before serving, add nuts and seeds.