KitchenTigress: Marmite Pork Ribs

Marmite Pork Ribs

I wander up and down the aisles in the supermart looking for Marmite. It's not with jams and spreads, nor sauces and condiments. Baking products? Nope, not there either. Where else could it be?

You'd never guess! Marmite, together with its best friend, Bovril, is sitting next to the cough syrups, plasters and ENO.


God only knows!

Love it or hate it? I've never had Marmite before, and I can't wait to find out.

The best description of Marmite I've come across is from Reginald Hunter. He said, "Marmite tastes like there's a naked man with hairy legs in your kitchen, and every now and again you take a plate with some toast, and walk onto his butt and go “Ok friend, do what you do best!”

Even Marmite can't resist making a dig at Marmite:

I'm a bit apprehensive about eating Marmite, to be honest. I dip the tip of a chopstick into the jar, and take a little lick of the black, gooey stuff, neat.

Hmm . . .

It's rather like reduced fish sauce, which I made once by mistake when trying a Thai recipe. Kinda burnt and bitter, and extremely salty. Pretty nasty, in other words.

Marmite neat isn't for me. Next, I try the most popular way of enjoying Marmite: a wee bit of the yeast extract spread t-h-i-n-l-y on generously buttered toast. I take a small bite and . . .

Hey, it's not bad!

The salt in the yeast extract goes well with butter.

The grand finale and highlight of my tasting session was pork with Marmite. The thick, meaty prime ribs braised with Marmite, sugar, honey, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce could be summed up in one alphabet:

Mmmmm . . .

The sugar and honey mask the burnt, bitter taste of Marmite, leaving a sweet and savory sauce that's a perfect fit with tender, juicy ribs falling off the bone. If everyone eats Marmite this way, I'm sure there wouldn't be any Marmite hate groups!

I'm now ready for the gourmet version:

(Recipe for 4 persons)

500 g pork ribs chopped 3-4 cm long, wash and drain
2 tbsp Marmite
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp honey

1. Put all ingredients in a pot, with ribs in a single layer if possible. Add enough water to almost cover ribs. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently till meat is just tender, about 1 hour, topping up with more water if necessary so that sauce covers at least half of ribs all the time.

2. Increase heat to medium-low, leave pot uncovered, and reduce sauce till sticky, stirring from time to time to ensure even heating and prevent the sides from burning. This should take 15-20 minutes depending on the amount of liquid.

3. When sauce is just short of ready, skim and discard excess oil. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Turn off heat. Give ribs a few last turns to coat evenly with thickened sauce. Plate and serve.