Bali Cooking Lesson 1: Qua Asam AKA Slow Cooked Ribs in Broth

Here is one of the many gems I collected during my kitchen time with Oka:

Qua Asam (“Bitter/Sour Soup”) or Slow Cooked Ribs in Broth
in the style of Puri Duwur Abing

by Cok Oka


We cut the bottom inch off, then cut the top green bits off – about 1/4 of what is shown here. Then we sliced the remainder into three inch pieces and smashed them.

3.5 kilos (7#;s) of ribs cut to single serve pieces (no more than 3”) and rinsed
3-4 ginger root pieces about the size of a golf ball
8-10 lemongrass stalks
black pepper
1/4-1/2 c. salt
chicken bullion (optional)
1c diced red onion or shallot
½ – 1c sweet chili (anaheims or bell peppers)
8 tomatoes
juice of 1 lime
½ – 1c chopped green onions
15-20 tiny, spicy chilis
1c. chopped lemon basil

  • These are the type of sweet chilis used in Bali. If you’re sensitive, then yes they are a tiny bit spicy – maybe a bit like an onion can be spicy. I think the best American substitute is probably Anaheim peppers.

    Bring a pot of water to a boil (enough to cover the ribs).

  • Once boiling, add the ribs and cook at a gentle boil for 30 minutes, skimming residue as it appears on the surface of the water.

  • Remove from heat and rinse ribs three times in cold water. Set aside.

  • Refill pot with water

  • Smash ginger and lemongrass and add to water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add bullion if you wish.

  • Add ribs and bring water to a boil.

  • Add red onion/shallots, sweet chilis, tomatoes, lime juice, and green onions.

  • Simmer. After 1 hour, add spicy chilis and lemon basil.

  • Simmer one more hour, or to taste.

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