I found this recipe off of a Whole Foods Video Podcast called "The Secret Ingredient", which is overall a great podcast once you get around the fact that they are obviously selling you Whole Foods products :)..maybe its my sales background that makes me sensitive to this..but hey everyones got to pay the bills right??
On with the recipe, its pretty straightforward-cure some baby back pork ribs for a few hours (sprinkled with kosher salt and peppercorns then wrapped up and set in the fridge), juice some coconuts (if you can find em-3 small/medium sized should give you 3.5 cups or so), add some dark sugar (1 table spoon), Vietnamese fish sauce (1/2 cup), garlic (5 cloves), and chicken stock (1 cup)..then braise for 1 hour at 350 degrees at which point you add some hard boiled eggs, cut ribs into 2 piece sectionns, and braise for an additional 30 minutes. Easy! And trust me its...delicious.
What you end up with is your ribs..which simply melt off the bone..but your also left with this amazing broth. What to do with it? Well thats your call..but here is what I did.
Take some fresh Star Anise, nutmeg, Cinnamon, and dark sugar, dump into a mortar and mix (about 1 tsp per for 2 servings), split up between 2 large soup bowls...cook some Pho noodles (rice noodles found in your local Asian market). Cut up some green onions, mushrooms, or whatever other veggie you think would work well (but does not require a long cook time) add to your bowls and pour the liquid left over from the ribs on top for each bowl, making sure that the broth is hot from the oven (this will release the flavor and fragrance from spices/veggies). Dump noodles on top, slice the hard boiled eggs in 1/2 and you've got your own version of Pho soup to go along with your ribs...good stuff.
The next time around I plan on using a sweeter beer (possibly a home brewed one) to replace the coconut milk..stay tuned.
Tips for this recipe...I wouldnt worry too much about having those exact spices on hand for the soup...think in terms of pumpkin pie spices and you'll be just fine..in fact you'll be making your own soup that way..no need to get hung up on the details :)
Also, I would focus on the quality of ingredients here (i.e. fresh coconut milk) but dont let that dissuade you..use what you have on hand and you'll soon be creating your own version of this dish. Take care!