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Pork Rib Ragu

This Vietnamese ragu was among the many one-pot dishes that she would make for my brother and me when we were kids. This hearty dish is typically made with chicken, but I prefer to make it with pork ribs, which yields a much richer broth.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 min


  • 700 g pork ribs, cut into 4x3 cm morsels
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • tsp salt (+ to taste)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 4 carrots, cut into 2 cm long pieces
  • 5-6 potatoes*, cut into 5 cm pieces
  • 125 g white button mushrooms, quartered
  • 140 g peas (fresh⁺, canned, or frozen)
  • 1.25 liters hot water
  • ¼ tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn starch + 1 tbsp water
  • tbsp cooking oil (vegetable or olive)
  • Chopped cilantro for garnishing


  • Season the pork ribs with the salt, sugar, ground pepper and garlic powder. Set aside.
  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in a cooking pot, and sauté the onions and garlic until fragrant, but not browned. Add the seasoned pork ribs and stir continuously. Once the ribs are no longer pink, add the tomato paste and continue stirring until the ribs are well coated. Pour in the hot water, add the bay leaves, lower the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
  • Taste the broth to see if it the salinity is adequate. If not, add some salt to taste. Then, add the carrots and continue to simmer covered for another 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and mushrooms and continue simmering covered for another 15 minutes. Finally, add the peas and fish sauce and bring to a gentle boil.
  • In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the corn starch with 1 tablespoon of water and stir into the ragu. Once it has come to a gentle boil, it is ready to serve. Garnish with ground black pepper and chopped cilantro.


My favorite way of eating this ragu is over a bed of steamed white rice, but it can also be enjoyed with a baguette.
*Choose a variety that has a firmer, waxy texture, rather than a starchy one.⁺If using fresh peas, either boil them beforehand or add them in with the carrots. Otherwise, if using canned peas, be sure to rinse and drain them before adding to the pot.
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: Pork, Ragu, Ribs, Soup