Baby Back Rib Satay, Peanut Sauce, and Cucumber-Onion-Sweet Pepper Salad
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Cook time: 
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Serves: 4 hefty servings
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup plain white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar (no substitute; don't use seasoned rice vinegar)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Ancient sweet red peppers or one large red bell peppers
  • 2 (~1/2 pound each) cucumbers
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 cup loosely-packed cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons white or black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (optional, because there's quite a bit of sugar in the peanut sauce already)
  • 6 pounds baby back ribs (not to be confused with spare ribs), cut into racks of 6-7 ribs
  • One loaf of soft white bread (see post), cut into one-inch slices
  • One recipe of easy Thai peanut sauce (see post), kept warm
  1. Make the salad dressing by combining the sugar, vinegar, and salt in a small saucepan and set it over medium heat. Whisk the mixture until the sugar and salt have fully dissolved. Cool. When you look at the amount of the dressing, you may wonder if it's enough to dress all the vegetables currently on your kitchen counter. But you will brush that thought aside, because it will be enough.
  2. Cut the Ancient sweet red peppers crosswise into ¼-inch rounds (if using a red bell pepper, halve it crosswise, core it, and cut into ¼-inch slices). Transfer to a large bowl. Peel and halve the cucumber crosswise. Cut each half lengthwise and cut each quarter into ¼-inch slices. Pile the cucumber slices on top of the pepper slices. Peel and cut the onion lengthwise into ¼-inch slices. Pile them on top of the cucumber slices. Layer the cilantro leaves on top. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and keep it chilled.
  3. Put the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, and fennel seeds in a dry skillet set over medium-low heat. Toast, stirring constantly, until they become fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a mini-chopper or spice grinder along with the peppercorns; pulverize finely and put the mixture in a bowl. Stir in the ground turmeric, salt, dried chili powder, and brown sugar (if using); mix well.
  4. Rinse the ribs and pat them very, very dry with paper towel. Dust the outside of the ribs thoroughly with the dry rub.
  5. Prepare the charcoal grill. Let the coals burn until they are a whitened ashen grey color. Push them to one side of the grill and arrange the ribs on a well-oiled grate on the side of the grill with no coals. Close the lid. Cook the ribs over indirect heat slowly like that, flipping them from time to time, until the they're done, about an hour (this largely depends on many factors; you really need to play by ear). Transfer the cooked ribs to a platter.
  6. Toast the bread right on the grill, arranging them on the side with the coals, until it develops some color and becomes crusty.
  7. Pour the dressing over the salad vegetables; toss thoroughly. Top it off with cilantro leaves.
  8. Serve the ribs with the peanut sauce and the cucumber salad and toast on the side.
Recipe by SheSimmers at