If you life in the Philippines, you’ve probably seen those recent ads from Del Monte telling you to eat more tomatoes or tomato-based/-infused dishes as the lycopene is very good for your heart and may cut down the risk of certain cancers.
Because tomatoes can be such hearty-flavored fruits (yes, by my book they are fruits not vegetables), so they’re usually paired with meat. Thus, we have the usual suspects on the dinner table: spaghetti with meat sauce, caldereta, mechado, afritada, and menudo. Come to think of it, every sinigang recipe I know has a couple ripe tomatoes thrown in for color. But for marinades? Except for some barbecue recipes that call for tomato ketchup, the use of tomatoes for grilled meats in the Philippines is rather rare.
Quite recently, I was looking through our [getting to be extensive in an oh-god-we’re-out-of-shelves way] collection of cookbooks at home, and found a recipe for a roasting marinade with a tomato base. While the recipe was originally meant for lamb, I discovered over the last weekend that it works magnificently with pork ribs.
I should mention at this point this is a marinade that needs cooking before use and that you need to put the meat into the pot where you cooked it while it’s still hot. This makes the meat more tender when grilled.
Savory Tomato Ribs
- 1/4 kilo spare ribs
- 1 small pack/can tomato sauce (not the sweetish Filipino-style kind)
- 3 large cloves garlic, crushed, peeled, and minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons vinegar (cider vinegar or sukang basi from the Ilocos are what I recommend)
- 1/2 chicken bouillon cube
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except the ribs and bouillon cube. Set over a medium flame and bring to a boil. Cover and lower the heat; allow to simmer for ten minutes. Turn off the flame and uncover the pot. Add the ribs immediately and stir until all the meat is covered with marinade. Cover the pot and leave the meat to soak for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4. (Note: If using a turbo broiler, don’t bother to preheat but set the temperature at 350 degrees before switching on.)
Set the marinated ribs on a roasting rack and place a pan underneath to catch any drippings. Cook for 25 minutes on each side, basting with the marinade every ten minutes. Cut into serving pieces.
To the leftover marinade, add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water along with the bouillon cube. Bring to a boil and cook till thickened. Serve with the meat.
Serves 6 and goes fabulously with plain white rice or mashed potatoes.