Jessica chats with Pepper Teigen about her debut cookbook and makes flavorful Thai glazed ribs

California Cooking

Everyone’s favorite Thai mom, Pepper Teigen, has a new cookbook out, and Jessica got to chat with her about it.

In “The Pepper Thai Cookbook,” Pepper opens up about life with her daughter Chrissy Teigen, her son-in-law John Legend and her adorable grandchildren.

Pepper told Jessica that when she came to the U.S., she cooked dishes that reminded her of home, while also perfecting traditional American meals.

She finally decided to write her own cookbook after some coaxing from her daughter, who, of course, loves her cooking. Pepper got help from Chrissy and John about which dishes to feature in her book, which include some of her own favorites, like papaya salad.

Pepper said she is happy she’ll be able to pass down her recipes to her grandchildren, who also love grandma’s cooking!

Jessica tried one of Pepper’s dishes at home. Watch the video below to see how her Thai glazed ribs turned out!

This segment aired on California Cooking with Jessica Holmes Episode 100.

Pepper Teigen’s Thai Glazed Ribs, serves 4


For the tamarind glaze

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Roasted Chile Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Toasted Rice Powder, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced cilantro stems
  • 12 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

For the ribs

  • 1 rack baby back pork ribs (12 to 14 ribs), cut into individual ribs
  • ¼ cup light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving

Note: For the leftover glaze, you can serve extra on the side, or store in the fridge for up to 1 week.


To make the tamarind glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, tamarind paste, brown sugar, lime juice, chile powder, rice powder, and cilantro stems until the sugar is dissolved. Squeeze in the pulp of the tomatoes (discard the skins) and stir together.

To make the ribs:

  1. Place the ribs in a large bowl and add the soy sauce, garlic powder, and white pepper. Toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature until you’re ready to deep fry.
  2. Fill a wok, large heavy pot, or deep skillet with at least 2 inches of oil, making sure to leave a few inches of clearance from the rim. Heat the oil over medium heat to 370°F (use a deep-fry thermometer or test the oil by throwing in a little piece of bread or a grain of rice; if it sizzles immediately but doesn’t burn, the oil is ready).
  3. Set a rack in a sheet pan or line a plate with paper towels and have near the stove. When the oil is hot, fry the ribs in batches of 4 or 5 until they’re just cooked and well browned on all sides, using a frying spider or slotted spoon to turn them occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to keep the oil at 370°F as you’re frying. Transfer the ribs to the wire rack or paper towels to drain and cool (slightly not too much, though).
  4. Place the warm ribs in a large bowl, spoon on as much of the tamarind glaze as you’d like, and toss to coat (see above note).
  5. Transfer to a plate, garnish with cilantro leaves, and serve immediately.

Note: Throughout the cookbook, I like to use the minced cilantro stems as well as cilantro leaves. The stems are an easy substitute for fresh cilantro root, an ingredient that is common in Thailand but hard to find in the U.S. Similar to the root, using the crunchy stems of cilantro adds a zestier, earthier flavor that deepens the taste of dressings, sauces, and marinades. And nothing goes to waste!

Reprinted from The Pepper Thai Cookbook. Copyright © 2021 by Vilailuck Teigen with Garrett Snyder. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Jenny Huang. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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