Vietnamese Caramelized Short Ribs Recipe

Vietnamese caramelized short ribs are one of the comfort dishes in Vietnamese Cuisine. I would compare it to Sauerbraten for Germans and Spaghetti Bolognese for Italians. That’s what Sườn Ram Mặn is for Vietnamese people. What lends this dish an extra level of comfort is the fact that you don’t really eat this dish alone. This dish would be consumed in a family setting with everyone gathered around the dining table. I think its all the memories that are associated with this dish that makes it extra special for me. And now it is my 5-year old’s favorite meal served over steamed rice. Sườn Ram Mặn is definitely a recipe that I think all Vietnamese families will pass on to the next generation.

Vietnamese Braised Short Ribs | Cách Làm Sườn Ram Mặn


For blanching Pork Spare Riblets:

  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 TBSP Vinegar

For Marinate:

  • 2 lbs Pork Spare Riblets
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 piece Shallot
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 TBSP Sugar
  • 2 TBSP Fish Sauce

For Caramel Sauce:

  • 2 TBSP Sugar
  • 1.5 Cups Coconut Water approx. 330 ml

Optional ingredients for garnish (but highly recommended):

  • Green Onions
  • Thai Chili Peppers


  •  Cut the pork riblets into bite size.  Bring small pot of water to boiling.  Add some salt and vinegar to help remove anyimpurities from the pork.  Once water isboiling, add pork riblets and blanched for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Drain blanched pork riblets and wash thoroughly underrunning water.
  • Add all ingredients to the pork riblets andmix.  Make sure each pork riblet is coatedwith a little bit of all the ingredients. Let meat marinate for at least 1 hour but it is most flavorful when youlet it marinate overnight.
  • Add 2 TBSP of sugar to your pot – I am using abeautiful clay pot.
  • Start caramelizing the sugar over mediumheat.  Make sure to stir sugar since itcan burn very fast and easily.
  • Once sugar is caramelized, add the pork ribletswith all of the marinate sauce.  Coateach piece of meat with the beautiful caramel sauce to give it taste and abeautiful color. 
  •  Now add about 1 cup of coconut water.  Traditionally, Vietnamese people use acoconut soda but I find that the coconut soda has too much artificial ingredientsfor me.  Coconut water is widelyavailable nowadays and it is the perfect natural tenderizer and sweetener.
  •  Bring your pork to a boil.  Then turn the heat to low, cover with lid andsimmer it for 30 minutes.
  • Once in a while stir the pork to make sure it isall evenly cooked and get a nice even caramelized color all around.
  •  After 30 minutes, remove lid and continue tosimmer for another 15-20 minutes.  Whilepork is cooking without lid, the liquid will become a beautiful sauce. 
  •  Garnish with green onion and hot Thai chilipeppers.  Ready to serve! 


Course Breakfast, Main Course
Keyword: Asian Cooking, asian dishes, Asian Food, Braised Short Ribs Recipe, Cách Làm Sườn Ram Mặn, Healthy Asian recipes, Healthy Vietnamese Recipe, How To Cook Vietnamese Food, Vietnamese Braised Short Ribs, Vietnamese Cooking, vietnamese dish, Vietnamese Food
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