Caramel pork is a Vietnamese dish in which either ribs or cubed pork shoulder is braised in a savory caramel sauce. It does not turn out as sweet as you might imagine but melds into a nice balance between sweet and salty, like a good bbq sauce. Since anise is a common spice in vietnamese cooking, it seemed a good idea to try our new Star Anise Infused Maple as a convenient substitute for making your own caramel. A good idea indeed. The anise is so complex and smokey that the only other spices you need to add are the usual suspects of fish sauce (or soy), garlic and ginger. I tried this dish the first time with ribs and the second with boneless pork shoulder and both were excellent.
- 3-4 lbs of pork ribs or 1 ½ lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 ½ “ cubes
- ½ cup Runamok Star Anise Infused Maple Syrup
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce or fish sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch of fresh ginger, minced
- ¼ cup white wine or vermouth
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- Salt and pepper
Cut the pork ribs into individual ribs. Preheat the oven to 350 and find a roasting pan that will fit the ribs in one layer, but snugly. Combine all of the remaining ingredients in the pan and add the ribs, turning them so they are coated all over. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and put in the oven. Roast for 45 minutes and then remove from the oven. Remove the aluminum (be careful of steam) and turn the ribs. Replace the cover and put back in the oven for another half hour. Remove the cover, basting the ribs again and continue to cook. Keep a close eye as the liquid reduces that it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Add a little extra water if it is already thick. Cook another ten minutes to brown the ribs and then remove from the oven. Serve with rice, spooning extra sauce over the meat.