- 1 ½ lb pork spare ribs, chopped into small pieces (see note)
- 1 generous pinch of salt
- 45g seedless tamarind pulp or 4-5 Tbsp tamarind juice
- ½ large red or yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 roma tomatoes, large dice
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 3 heads baby bok choy, water spinach or other greens you like in soup
- 1 cup long beans or green beans, cut into 1″-2″ pieces
- 2 cups taro root, large cubes
- Thai chilies, crushed just until broken
Note: You can buy chopped up spare ribs at Asian butchers. If you cannot find it, you can simply use a rack of ribs, separated into individual bones; it’s just gonna be a bit harder to sear and to eat. You can also substitute other kinds of meat; however, if using boneless meat, you MUST use a good stock instead of water, otherwise your soup will be really weak in flavour and body.
- Salt the pork ribs. In a large heavy bottomed pot, add a little oil just to coat. Once oil is hot, add the ribs and sear until browned on both sides; do not crowd the pot, you will probably need to do this in a couple of batches.
- Once the pork is all seared, add them all back to the pot and add just enough water to cover the pork by about 1 cm. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until scum and foam has collected on top. Skim off the scum with a fine mesh strainer, then add onion and tomatoes, and simmer for another 45 minutes or until the pork is fork tender.
- Meanwhile, if using tamarind pulp, use this time to make tamarind juice. Place the pulp in a medium bowl, cover with off-the-boil water and let sit until cool enough to handle. Squish the tamarind with your hands until all pulp has been released into the water. Strain off all the fibers.
- Once the pork is fork tender, add taro cubes and chilies, and simmer for 7 minutes. Add the beans and cook for 2 more minutes, then add bok choy or any leafy greens you’re using. Check that the taro is tender by piercing a fork through it and it should go through easily. Season the soup with most of the tamarind juice and then taste, adding more fish sauce and tamarind as needed (note: I used up all of my tamarind juice in the video). You shouldn’t need any added sugar for this, but if the soup feels too sour, you can add a little sugar to balance.
- Serve with jasmine rice!