Deep-fried Spare Ribs from India Cookbook

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Learn how to make your own Deep-fried Spare Ribs, Ribbed Gourd with Chana Dal, and Raw Tamarind Chutney from India: The Cookbook.

Deep-fried Spare Ribs, Ribbed Gourd with Chana Dal and Raw Tamarind Chutney

From India: The Cookbook  (November 2010 $49.95), by Pushpesh Pant, Phaidon Press,


Deep-fried Spare Ribs


Tabak Maaz

Deep-fried Spare Ribs


Origin Jammu and Kashmir

Preparation time 1 ½ hours

Cooking time 45 minutes

Serves 4




1kg / 2 ¼ lb ribs of lamb

2 tablespoons Garlic Paste (see recipe below)

2 teaspoons ground ginger

8-10 cloves

8-10 black cardamom pods1

2 tablespoons ground turmeric2

500ml / 18fl oz (2 ¼ cups) vegetable oil or ghee3



1 cardamom is a spice made from the dried pods of the cardamom plant, used in both sweet and savoury dishes, and known as elaichi in India. The most common variety has green pods, while the other has black-brown pods with a more astringent flavour. Ground green cardamom is also available from Asian grocery stores.

2 turmeric is a spice made from the rhizome of the turmeric plant, which is ground to make a bright yellow powder. It has a warm, dry flavour and is found in almost all curries and pickles. It also has antiseptic properties.

3 ghee is butter which has been clarified to remove the milk solids and obtain the purified fat. Used to prepare cooked desserts and to cook many Mughal dishes.




Boil the ribs in a large pan of water, removing the scum with a slotted spoon, for about 30 minutes, or until the water is clear and until the ribs are half done. Stir in the garlic paste and boil for 15 minutes. Season with salt, cover with a lid and boil for a further 15 minutes, or until the membrane between the ribs can be pierced with your fingers. Remove the pan from the heat and drain off the water. Allow the ribs to cool, then wash thoroughly, reserving the washing water and set aside.


Using a sharp heavy knife, separate the ribs into 8 rectangular pieces.


Put the reserved washing water into a large pan and bring to the boil. Add the chopped ribs, ginger, cloves, cardamom pods and turmeric. Season with salt and mix well. Allow to boil until the bones can be extracted from the membrane easily. Remove the pan from the heat and remove the ribs with a slotted spoon.


Arrange the ribs in a large frying pan (skillet) (ensuring that they do not overlap), add the oil or ghee and fry, turning gently for 45 minutes, or until they are evenly browned. Drain out the excess fat before serving.


Garlic Paste


Pisi Lehsun

Garlic Paste


Origin Pan-India

Preparation time 15 minutes, plus chilling time

Makes about 200g / 7 oz




200g / 7oz (about 5 heads) roughly chopped garlic




Put the garlic in a blender, add 3 tablespoons water and process to make a fine paste. Transfer to a container and chill and in the refrigerator. This paste can be stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.


Ribbed Gourd with Chana Dal



Ribbed Gourd with Chana Dal


Origin Tamil Nadu

Preparation time 40 minutes, plus cooling time

Cooking time 10-15 minutes

Serves 4




2 tablespoons chana dal1, rinsed and drained

2 ribbed gourds2, peeled and cut into 4-cm / 1 ½ inch pieces

2 tomatoes, chopped

6 green chilies, de-seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

¼ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon ground coriander3, roasted

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground cumin4


1 bunch coriander (cilantro) leaves, to garnish


For the seasoning


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 dried red chilies

½ teaspoon mustard seeds5

4-6 curry leaves6


1chana dal is split black chickpeas (garbanzo beans), produced by skinning and splitting the yellow kernel of black chickpeas, chana dal is sweet and nutty and the most commonly used pulse in India. Regular chickpeas or yellow lentils can be used as an alternative.

2gourds, also called marrows or squash. Ribbed gourd is a long, dark green ridged fruit, with a thick skin and a soft interior. The skin can be made into chutney, but it is often removed and discarded, and only the interior Is used as a vegetable in curries.   

3 coriander (cilantro) is an annual herb, the entirety of which is used in Indian cooking: the fresh leaves as a garnish or in green chutney; the whole seeds in temperings, pickling spices and some non-vegetarian dishes; the powdered seeds, or ground coriander, is among the most commonly used spices in everyday cooking.

4 cumin is an essential ingredient in Indian cooking, available ground or as whole seeds, with a nutty, warm flavour. Known as jeera in India. Used in all mixed spices and curry powders, and to flavour a range of pulses and vegetable dishes, as well as yoghurt dishes.

5 mustard seeds, both yellow and black, are widely used in Indian cooking. Oil pressed from these is preferred cooking medium in large parts of rural north India and in Bengal. The seeds and oil are commonly used in tempering and are an essential ingredient in pickling spices. The fresh green leaves of the plant are a popular vegetable.

6 curry leaves are an aromatic leaf known in India as kadipatta, similar in appearance to the bay leaf, but much smaller in size, with a warm, lemony smell. In south India, curry leaves a re used to flavour vegetables, lentils and breads. They are available fresh or dried.





Bring 375 ml / 13 fl oz (1 ½ cups) water to the boil in a large, heavy-based pan, add the dal and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the gourd, tomatoes and chilies and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the gourd is soft and tender but not mushy.


Heat the oil in another pan over medium heat, add the garlic, ground spices and season with salt, then stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add the vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.


Heat the oil for the seasoning in a small frying pan (skillet) over medium heat. Add all the ingredients and fry for about 2 minutes, or until brown. Pour over the vegetables and cover immediately. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.


Raw Tamarind Chutney


Chintapandu Thokku

Raw Tamarind Chutney


Origin Andhra Pradesh

Preparation time 50 minutes, plus cooking and standing time

Makes 750g / 1lb 10oz




500g / 1lb 2oz tamarind1

2 cloves garlic

4-5 bunches mint leaves

10-15 green chilies, de-seeded (optional) and roughly chopped



For the tempering


180ml / 6fl oz ( ¾ cup) vegetable oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds2

4 dried red chilies




Remove the seeds from the tamarind because they spoil the taste of the chutney. Put all the ingredients, except the tempering ingredients and salt, in a blender and process, adding a little water if necessary, to make a smooth paste. Season with salt.


Heat the oil for the tempering in a frying pan (skillet) over medium heat, add all the tempering ingredients and stir-fry for about 1-2 minutes, or until the seeds start to splutter and the chilies turn a shade darker. Pour the hot tempering over the chutney and mix well. Allow to cool.


When cool, put into a sterilized bottle* with a well fitting lid. Keep at room temperature and use after one week. The chutney can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a year.


* To sterilize jars, wash the jars and lid thoroughly in hot, soapy water. Rinse well, then place jars and lids open-side up, without touching, on a baking tray. Transfer to an oven preheated to 120˚C/250˚F, and leave for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, boil the jars and lids in a large pan of water for 15 minutes. Take care to ensure that the jars are already warmed before placing them in a hot oven.


1Tamarind is a fruit used extensively in India as a souring agent, where it is known as imli. It can be bought as a concentrate, or de-seeded and dried. The dried fruit is ground, pulped or soaked in water to extract its flavour.


2fenugreek is an aromatic bittersweet spice known as methi in India. The seeds have a strong flavour, and the chopped and dried leaves (kasoori methi), are milder. Both the seeds and leaves are used to add a wholesome touch to curries, pickles and chutneys.