Asian Influence: Tamarind Ribs

By Jessie Lehail,
Special to The Post
It feels like summer – at least where I am today. When the temperature soars, barbeque comes to mind.  Grilled vegetables, chicken, fish, even tofu, but on occasion, it has to be ribs. 
Warning: These ribs need time to cook, so plan ahead. It’s a long and slow process, but worth the effort. You can prepare these them in your oven, early in the morning and then finish them on your outdoor grill, come dinnertime. 
• 4 racks of pork ribs
• 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons paprika
• 2 tablespoons chili powder
• 2 tablespoons ground cumin
• 1 tablespoon cayenne (or to taste)
• 2 tablespoons ground masala
• 1 teaspoon ground fennel
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon dried ginger
• 1 tablespoon cumin
• 1 tablespoon ground, mustard seed
• 1 teaspn lemon pepper  
In a bowl add all the ingredients except the ribs. Stir to make sure they are evenly distributed.
Lay out four sheets of parchment paper on the counter. Place each rack of ribs on a sheet. Sprinkle half the rub over the first side of the ribs and massage into the meat evenly. Turn the ribs over and massage the rest of the rub into the other side. Cover the ribs tightly with parchment paper and then encase in foil, tightly. Double foil if everything is not completely tight. Place two racks of ribs on each long baking sheet. Bake ribs at 300 F for 3 hours.
Ingredients for Tamarind BBQ Sauce
• 3 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 yellow onion, chopped
• 1/4 cup Tamarind concentrate
• 1 cup plain store bought barbeque sauce
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon paprika
• 4 tablespoons of whole grain Dijon mustard
• 1/4 cup sriracha (more if you want it spicier)
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 1/2 can of root beer
• 2 bay leaves
Warm oil in a saucepan set over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until almost dry, about 3 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. Cool. Place in a blender and puree the sauce. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Thirty minutes before serving, light up the barbeque grill. Cover the ribs with the spicy tamarind BBQ sauce and grill until sticky. The heat from the grill bronzes the meat and bones, making them more pliable. This step also adds another layer of flavour to the ribs, making them more moist, succulent and spicy.
Jessie Lehail is the author of Indian Influence, a food blog that takes global eats and reinterprets them with a South Asian influence. Visit her blog at
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