My younger brother Avneet has a friend from Nagaland and his mother used to make this pork dish. We were lucky to get her recipe. You will love this dish. Of course, if you can’t find naga or ghost chillies, you can use any other chilli, and add more or less to suit to your taste. The different layers of cooking in this recipe are what make it so special.
750ml apple juice
150g grated fresh ginger
2–3 naga chillies, split down the centre
8 whole star anise
1 slice fresh orange
75g soft light brown sugar
1kg baby back pork ribs
1 litre sunflower oil, for frying
FOR THE NAGA BBQ SAUCE
half the leftover stock from the braised ribs
75g (6 tablespoons) ketchup
100ml cider vinegar
100g soft light brown sugar
25g tamarind paste
1 teaspoon crushed dried naga chillies, to taste
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE KACHUMBER SALAD
1 red onion
4 spring onions
1/2 cucumber, finely diced
1 lime, for squeezing
a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1 In a large saucepan with a lid, combine the apple juice, grated ginger, chillies, star anise, orange and brown sugar, stirring to mix well. Add the pork ribs and cover with about 1.5 litres water. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil, then simmer over a low heat for about 2. hours, turning the ribs a few times, until tender.
2 Lift the ribs out of the stock, place on a chopping board and leave to cool. With a sharp knife, cut in between the ribs at two-rib intervals.
3 Strain half of the stock into a fresh pan (discard the remaining stock or reserve it for use in another recipe). Add the ketchup, cider vinegar, honey, sugar, tamarind and chillies and bring to the boil, then simmer over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, then strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl.
4 In a separate bowl, toss together all the ingredients for the kachumber salad.
5 Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based pan over a high heat. Deep-fry the ribs in batches for 5 minutes until crispy and then dip into the sauce to glaze. Serve garnished with the kachumber salad, with a squeeze of lime and the chopped coriander, along with the remaining sauce for dipping.
The cooked ribs can be refrigerated in their braising liquid overnight and reheated gently before grilling. The sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
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