Pressure Cooker Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Spare Ribs (Sườn Ram Mặn) is a simple and popular dish loved by kids and adults all over the World.
Asian food and I have a long history. Chinese because, well, I’m Jewish and it’s what’s for dinner every December 25. 🙂 I have such wonderful memories of my dad and I eating Chinese food, all over Miami. We had our favorite Take-Out Place and several favorite sit down restaurants.
Vietnamese food was introduced to me in the early 90’s and I feel in love with it so much. I’ve never had a Vietnamese dish that I did not absolutely love. Thai, Japanese and Indian food are also in my top five favorites…..you name an Asian Country and there’s a good chance, I love the food.
Becky Nguyen, one of my readers, challenged me to convert her favorite Sườn Ram Mặn Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Spare Ribs for the Pressure Cooker. The recipe she used is inspired by Helen at Panang Cuisine. Being a Vietnamese lover, I immediately took on the challenge.
This Pressure Cooker Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Spare Ribs (Sườn Ram Mặn) recipe is actually very similar to my Bun Thịt Nướng (Vietnamese BBQ Pork Cold Noodle Salad) recipe, which I have been eating regularly and steadily since 1994.
For this recipe, I used Pork Spare ribs. You can either take a clever and chop the ribs into approximately 1.5 inch pieces, or have your butcher do the hard part. I had my butcher cut these babies up for me, as I wanted to make sure I kept all my fingers in tact. 🙂
Some people prefer to cover the ribs with water and add salt and soak for 15 minutes to remove any impurities and gunk from the ribs. I usually do a quick boil instead.
Place the ribs into your Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker cooking pot and cover with water. Select Steam and set time for one minute. If you don’t have a Steam option on your Pressure Cooker, just chose the highest setting and cook for one minute.
Carefully, do a quick release. Use quick movements to toggle the Pressure Valve back and forth to let a little steam out at a time. If you are comfortable, throw a light dish towel over the top, so that the steam doesn’t shoot up and hit your cabinets.
Some people don’t recommend this, however, I’ve been doing that for 13 years, without a problem. I never keep a towel over the Pressure Cooker while cooking or for an extended period of time and only use it when I do a quick release, to prevent making a wet mess everywhere.
Mince the garlic and add it to the meat, along with the other marinade ingredients. Becky prefers to use Better than Bouillon Chicken Base, rather than Chicken bouillon powder. I don’t blame her. I also prefer the Better than Bouillon Chicken Base.
Chop up the white parts of some Scallions and add them to the marinade. Reserve the green parts for later. Shallots are great in place of the Scallions, if you desire.
A stainless steel pot becomes nonstick if you allow it to fully heat prior to adding a fat.
Add just a little oil to the Pressure Cooker cooking pot and swirl it around to heat.
When you hear the sizzle, add in your homemade Nuoc Mau Caramel Sauce recipe that you have on hand, or let’s make it right here, right now.
Okay, here goes…… Carefully add in some water……it may pop because of the oil, so be careful.
Sprinkle in the sugar and swirl it around the pot. The sugar will melt and will start to turn golden.
Keep a close eye on the sauce and when it gets nice and dark and thick, add some hot water to thin the sauce, so you don’t end up with Brittle candy. I mean, if you want to add in some peanuts and then pour all the sauce and peanuts into a mold, you’ll have Peanut Brittle! Hehehehe, I digress.
Anyway, add very hot water, don’t make Peanut Brittle…at least, not right now. Mix in the very hot water, so the sauce is now thin.
Place the cooking pot back into the Pressure Cooker and brown the ribs until they are no longer pink. It should only take about two minutes.
If you like a sweeter rib, add in some sugar and mix through.
Lock on the lid and you are ready for the first cook. Since this is a one-pot meal with the rice, I cooked this in two steps.
Since this is a one-pot meal, we will prepare and then add the Pressure Cooker Perfectly Cooked Pot In Pot Rice to the second part of the cooking process for this Pressure Cooker Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Spare Ribs (Sườn Ram Mặn) recipe.
Let’s prepare your Pressure Cooker Perfectly Cooked Pot In Pot Rice while the Pressure Cooker Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Spare Ribs (Sườn Ram Mặn) are in the pot for the first part of the cooking process.
It’s really simple. Rice, Salt and Pressure Cooker Bone Broth, or water! If you want more flavor to your rice, try my Pressure Cooker Ghee Rice for a toasted and buttery experience, or Pressure Cooker Thai Triple Coconut Rice. Both of those are really delicious.
No need for a separate plastic rice washer basket accessory!
Measure in your rice and add it to the smaller Pressure Cooker “Dessert” Pan. These pans come in a set of two.
The larger Pressure Cooker “Dessert” Pan is great for a double recipe of rice. If you make a double recipe of rice, make sure to use the Short Legged Stainless Steel Steaming Rack/Trivet, instead of the Tall Legged Stainless Steel Steaming Rack/Trivet.
Add in the fresh water. If you want to use Broth or other flavorings, that is fine.
For perfect rice, use the measurements in the recipe. If you want a firmer rice, use a tad less water. If you want a softer rice, use a tad more water.
You will notice the water amount is less than if you cooked the rice directly in the Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker cooking pot.
That is because you need to take into account the condensation from the water below the trivet. You don’t want mushy rice. 🙂
When you hear the beep, allow a 5-minute Natural Release and then release the rest of the pressure.
Pot in Pot cooking is so wonderful, as you don’t have to worry about having two Pressure Cookers or waiting to finish one item before starting another.
Remove the rice, fluff, cover and set aside, while your ribs finish up in the Pressure Cooker.
Becky wanted this Pressure Cooker Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Spare Ribs (Sườn Ram Mặn) recipe to have the cartilage soft enough to “chew and eat.”
I had to take that into account with the cook time and the method.
Select Sauté or Browning on your Pressure Cooker and adjust to “Low.” Simmer until the sauce has reduced to about half. It should be sticky thick and dark.
For more delicious Vietnamese dishes, check out some of my other Vietnamese recipes.
Plate the rice and the ribs.
Garnish with the green part of the Scallions. Enjoy!
Becky, thanks so much for asking me to do this recipe. I hope you enjoy this Pressure Cooker Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Spare Ribs (Sườn Ram Mặn) recipe and the cartilage is just how you requested!
Kitchen Equipment and Essentials
- Instant Pot DUO 6 Quart
- J.A. Henckels Classic 7-inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
- Amco Advanced Performance 18/10 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons
- Simply Gourmet (Dry) Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
- Anchor Hocking Glass (Liquid) Measuring Cups
- Cilio Olivewood Spatula
- Porcelain & Bamboo Salt Box with Spoon
- Bellemain Porcelain Ramekins
- My FANTASTIC Teak Cutting & Charcuterie Board & Compartments
- Salbree Steamer Basket
- Pressure Cooker “Dessert” Pan
- Tall Legged Stainless Steel Steaming Rack/Trivet
- OXO Stainless Steel Tongs
- Nuoc Mau Caramel Sauce
- Three Crabs Fish Sauce
- Better than Bouillon Chicken Base
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Here is the handy printable recipe:
Pressure Cooker Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Spare Ribs (Sườn Ram Mặn)Print Pin SaveSaved! Rate
- 4 pounds Pork Spare Ribs cut into pieces
- 1.5 cups Fresh Water (divided)
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 1/4 cup White Sugar
- 3 cloves Fresh Garlic minced
- 4 Tablespoons Premium Fish Sauce
- 4 teaspoons Scallions white parts, diced (or shallots)
- 4 teaspoons Chicken Stock/Broth
- 2 teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- Place Ribs in Pressure Cooker cooking pot and cover with Water. Lock on Lid and close Pressure Valve. Cook for 1 minute on High Heat. When Beep sounds, release the pressure. Open the lid and drain water. Rinse Ribs under cool water and set aside. Rinse cooking pot and return to Pressure Cooker
- Select Sauté or Browning on your Pressure Cooker and allow to fully heat. Add a little oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the cooking pot.
- Add 1/4 cup Water and 1/4 cup sugar and allow to come to a gentle bubble, while stirring. When the Caramel Sauce begins to darken, add 1/2 cup of hot water and stir to combine, making sure to scrape up anything stuck to the bottom of the cooking pot.
- Whisk together Sugar, Scallions, Fish Sauce, Garlic, Chicken Base, the rest of the Water, Salt and Pepper and pour into cooking pot Add Ribs. Turn off Pressure Cooker.
- Lock on Lid and close Pressure Valve. Cook at High Pressure for 8 minutes. When Beep sounds, wait 5 minutes and then release the rest of the pressure.
- Place trivet into the cooking pot and place Pan on top. Add Rice and Fresh Water.
- Lock on Lid and close Pressure Valve. Cook at High Pressure for 6 minutes. Allow a 10-minute Natural Pressure Release and then release the rest of the pressure.
- Remove lid and rice, cover and set rice aside.
- Select Sauté/Browning and then "Low" on your Pressure Cooker and simmer until the sauce has reduced and it thick. Serve with rice.