Masala Chai Pork Ribs


I have a weak spot for Assam tea. My mornings start with three cups of Assam with excessive amounts of milk and sugar. Late afternoons call for a strong Assam with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, and anise -- a Masala Chai experience to replenish, invigorate, and help survive a long day in the office. I love the blend so much that I began thinking how to use it in cooking more often. The sweetness of my mixture, the scent of it, and all the complex aromas seem to be a perfect match for slow cooked pork ribs. The tea blend penetrates the meat as the ribs simmer slowly in the oven, and then, after hours of cooking, culminate in a beautiful black syrupy glaze. I like to serve the ribs with mashed sweet potatoes and Fennel Slaw with Vanilla Vinaigrette. A day that starts with Assam and ends with Assam – it cannot get better than that. Make sure you are using meaty spare ribs, not the leaner and pricier baby back ribs.

What you will need

2 tablespoons (or content of 4 tea bags) Assam tea, or any similar strong malty black tea, such as Irish breakfast or Scottish breakfast

1/4 cup turbinado sugar

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 pounds pork spare ribs

2 tablespoons Assam tea (or 4 tea bags)

1/3 cup turbinado sugar

12 whole cardamom pods

1 to 2 ounces ginger, shaved or cut into small pieces

16 cloves

2 star anise pods

1 teaspoon black peppercorns


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