Obedient ingredient: Coconut Milk

If you’re familiar with the TV show called Everyday Exotic, you might have noticed its peculiar format. The host chef, Roger Mooking, features what he calls an “obedient ingredient” which he uses to cook two or more dishes in each episode. The obedient ingredient changes from week to week but the format is the same. I’ve cooked some of Mooking’s recipes we liked some; most we found too bland. I do, however, like the idea of cooking a meal that revolves around one ingredient which serves as the theme. I did that for tonight’s dinner.

Everything that you see in the photo above pork rib, rice, and vegetables was cooked with coconut milk, the obedient ingredient. The rack of ribs was marinated with the same ingredients I used for the chicken tikka. The meat was roasted on a rack, covered with foil, in a 250F oven for two hours. The foil was peeled off, the heat was turned up to 450F and the pork was cooked on high heat for about 20 minutes. Then, it was allowed to rest for 30 minutes before cutting.

While the pork was roasting in the oven, I cooked the rice and the vegetables. The rice was cooked in the rice cooker with garlic, a little bit of ginger, curry powder, beef broth, salt, pepper, and coconut milk. The vegetable side dish is a vegetable curry with eggplants, carrots, potatoes, and squash spicy but not salty so that the dominant flavor was the sweetness of the coconut milk.

I liked the combination. I like the idea of serving these dishes together for a Holiday lunch or dinner. There’s not a lot of work involved. If your oven is large enough, two to three racks of ribs can go into the oven at the same time. The rice was a winner rich but not overpowering. I was especially happy that I chose a very Asian vegetable side dish to go with the pork ribs. Unique, unexpected, distinctive. If you’d like to try cooking these dishes, as a set or individually, the link for the meat marinade is given above. So is the recipe for the rice. For the vegetable curry, you can use any of the curry recipes in the archive, omit the meat part and you have your vegetable curry.