Sweet Sour Pork Ribs Suon Xao Chua Ngot

sweet sour spareribs
Vietnamese sweet and sour pork spareribs (suon xao chua ngot) is dish I always looked forward to eating because it’s so finger licking good with the tartness of the tomatoes and just the right amount of sweetness contrasting the succulent pork ribs.  Another reason was that extra pork ribs would also wind up in some sort of soup to complement the meal. While not evident in all of our posts since we feature one item at a time,  most Vietnamese family meals consists of a protein dish, a vegetable dish which could be pickled, along with jasmine rice and eaten family style–everyone had to sit at the table to enjoy the meal.   

sweet sour spareribs

The pork spare ribs would form the base for the a pickled mustard green and dill soup, a delicious classic to complement the meal.

Suon Xao Chua Ngot Sweet and Sour Pork Spareribs
Printable Recipe

  • 1lb pork spare ribs bone in, cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ts fish sauce
  • 2 ts sugar
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, diced into small cubes
  • cornstarch mix: 1 ts cornstarch 2 tbs water, stir into a slurry 
  • 1 ts white vinegar
  • 1 ts sugar
  • green onions, chopped
  • thai chili, chopped (optional)
  • cooking oil
  • water

Briefly marinade the spareribs with fish sauce, sugar, and garlic–a few minutes will do. In a large saute pan or wok on medium high, heat about 2 tbs of cooking oil and add the shallots. When fragrant, add the spare ribs and sear until edges are golden brown. Then add enough water to just cover the spareribs and cover lid and reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about 25-30 minutes.  This will tenderize the ribs–the longer you simmer, the more tender. We like a bit of chewiness so we can gnaw it off the bone.. :)

The water should now be slightly reduced. Add the diced tomatoes and continue to simmer until tomatoes breakdown and thicken. Now add the cornstarch slurry and mix well to thicken the sauce even more. Finally, season the sauce with a pinch of salt or fish sauce and by adding equal parts 1 ts vinegar and sugar, add more if necessary, adjusting to taste–should be, well sweet and sour. Add chop green onions and optional thai chili. Remove and serve with jasmine rice.

sweet sour spare ribs
This Vietnamese pork spare ribs dish combines the sour, sweet, spicy and savory flavors we love. We enjoyed this with home made pickled mustard greens along with the pickled mustard green and dill soup–both recipes we’ll post later. A truly finger licking and satisfying Vietnamese meal! 

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