KitchenTigress: Coffee Pork Ribs

Coffee Pork Ribs

Coffee pork ribs is a Singaporean dish popularized by celebrity chef Sam Leong. It's meaty, savory coffee you can chew. Pork ribs are marinated, deep-fried, then tossed in a sticky coffee sauce. Pork and coffee make an unusual couple but their marriage works surprisingly well.

I love food that's slightly bitter, like  bitter gourd and bitter chocolate, and anything made with coffee such as coffee cheesecake and coffee candy.

Pork ribs deep-fried and coated with coffee?

Yes, please!

Making coffee pork ribs isn't difficult. The only tricky part is deep-frying the ribs so that the batter is crisp but the meat is still juicy. But it's nothing that can't be nailed after practising a few times.

The sauce for the ribs is made with instant coffee powder, Worcestershire sauce, maltose and sugar. The recipe is from "All About Pork Ribs". I like it because it has the right hint of coffee, and it doesn't use any unusual ingredients.

Like a lot of people, I have quite a jaded palette. So I'm always on the lookout off the (culinary) beaten path, hoping to find something exciting. That's why I love the taste of coffee in a savory meat dish. It's unusual, in a very good way.

This recipe has a good balance between ribs and coffee. You can taste the coffee, but it doesn't overwhelm the ribs.

coffee pork ribs
  • 500 g pork prime ribs, chopped about 3 cm long
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp white sesame oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 3½ tbsp water

  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 tbsp potato flour
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 2 tbsp maltose
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 3 tbsp water

  1. Wash and dry ribs. Beat marinade ingredients till well combined. Massage ribs with marinade. Marinate for 2 hours, stirring once mid-way.

  2. Mix potato flour and plain flour. Give ribs and marinade a thorough stir. Transfer ribs (minus excess marinade) to flour mixture. Toss till ribs are well coated.

  3. Deep-fry ribs in moderately hot oil over medium heat till just cooked and lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Drain.

  4. Reheat oil till just smoking. Refry ribs till golden brown. Drain again.

  5. Heat sauce ingredients till thickened. Taste and if necessary adjust seasoning. Add ribs. Toss till well coated.

  6. Plate and serve.