Asian Pork and Cabbage Salad

As I was entertaining one of my favorite pastimes, thumbing through another cookbook from the library, I came across two separate recipes: Asian Barbeque Ribs and Asian Coleslaw. I thought I'd make them both. I pictured the two dishes side by side on my dinner plate. But once I had completed the two, a bolt of lightning struck! AHA! I realized in that instant I could COMBINE the two dishes into one most awesome Asian salad!

Unfortunately, I started eating my awesome salad before realizing (DUH!) that I should have photographed it for this blog. Therefore, you will have to forgive my half-eaten salad. I hope it is better than no photo whatsoever. (Oh dear, it IS a bit sad-looking.)

Anyway, I made the Chinese Barbeque pork ribs using country-style ribs which are not traditional at all. They are boneless, very thick and meaty, with plenty of fat to keep them moist and tender as they cook. The other great thing about this cut is the cost: quite inexpensive.

The cookbook which inspired my recipes is Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur. This is the guy that tastes America's favorite dishes from restaurant chains around the country and clones them using ingredients you can easily find in the supermarket. There is one from P.F. Chang's for ribs and the salad dressing below came from a restaurant I have never heard of called Islands. I didn't follow these recipes exactly, because you know me by now, but I will give you a close approximation of what I did.

Asian-Inspired Pork Ribs

About 4-5 lbs. country-style pork ribs
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
3-5 TB soy sauce
3 TB mirin (or sake)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Honey or brown sugar to taste (I did not add any.)

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a large bowl or tub. When well combined, taste. Add sugar, honey, salt and/or pepper to taste. (Hoisin sauce is VERY sweet, so you may already have enough sugar.) Dump the pork ribs into the sauce and coat well. Marinate for at least one hour or up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F. Arrange ribs in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Drizzle all the sauce over the ribs. Bake for 2 hours or until tender and falling apart. Let sit for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Serve with Asian coleslaw or on top of Asian salad.

Asian-Inspired Coleslaw

1 10 oz. bag shredded green cabbage (some purple cabbage would be pretty, too)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 small Persian cucumbers, julienned
10 baby carrots, julienned
1 cup mandarin orange segments

1/2 cup mayonaise
5 TB rice vinegar
1 TB sesame oil (dark)
1 TB soy sauce (or teriyaki sauce)
pinch garlic powder
salt and/or sugar to taste

Mix the dressing ingredients in the bottom of a large bowl. Taste the dressing and adjust seasonings. (I used teriyaki which is both sweet and salty, plus it contains ginger, garlic and sesame flavors.) Dump the veggies into the dressing and toss. Top with orange segments.

To make an Asian salad, just add shredded lettuce and grape tomatoes. Top with barbeque pork. Enjoy!