Pomegranate molasses and sumac are two of my favourite Middle Eastern ingredients. I was first introduced to pomegranate molasses via Khoresh Fesenjan, an iconic Persian dish featuring pomegranate molasses, and ever since I have been smitten with its contrasting sweet and sour taste. I discovered sumac when making a Lebanese salad known as Fattoush and realised that it never tasted quite authentic until I was instructed by a Lebanese friend to add sumac; what a revelation! If you’ve never heard of sumac, give it a go as it is very versatile and doesn’t need to be limited just to Middle Eastern recipes. I can only describe its taste as tart and lemony.
This recipe was born out of my desire to eat sweet and sticky ribs but instead of making my usual Chinese Style ribs, I turned to my pomegranate molasses and thought that it must be perfect for sweet and sticky ribs and then I saw my sumac and knew that both ingredients were a match made in heaven.
As this recipe is Middle Eastern inspired, the pork element is rather out of place and haram for those of the Muslim and Jewish faiths, so you could just as easily swap it for beef or lamb ribs instead if you are entertaining for people of those faiths. But, I love pork and pork is cheap in my country…
½ rack pork ribs
3 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
1 Tbsp. sumac
2 tsp. cinnamon powder
Handful dried cranberries (optional)
5 garlic cloves; 2 chopped, 3 whole
1 tsp. sugar
Salt, to taste
10 baby potatoes (optional)
1 knob butter
2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
2 tsp. sumac
1 Place ribs, pomegranate molasses, sumac, cinnamon, cranberries, garlic, sugar, salt and potatoes in a pressure cooker. Add enough cold water to slightly cover everything. Close the pressure cooker and cook on high until the pressure starts to whistle (around 5 minutes) and then lower the heat to low and cook for 20-25 minutes.
2 When the cooking time has elapsed, remove from the stove and release the pressure (refer to your pressure cooker instruction manual as each is slightly different). Carefully remove the lid and transfer ribs and potatoes to an ovenproof dish.
3 Mix together the glaze ingredients and brush ribs and potatoes with this glaze. Cook in a preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, basting regularly with the glaze, making sure it doesn’t dry out.
4 Meanwhile, sieve the cooking liquid and transfer back into the pressure cooker. Cook on a high heat, uncovered, for around 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to your desired consistency. Once reduced add a knob of butter and whisk into the sauce.
5 Transfer ribs and potatoes to a serving dish and spoon over with the pomegranate and sumac sauce.