Thai ribs with cactus salad

This dish is one of the fusion dishes that Danny comes up with while thinking about what to eat late at night. I usually hesitate to hesitate before doing some of his twists, but for the most part they turn out really good! I guess that's what makes us a good team.

When we visit my parents, hubby always has a special request for these ribs. Something about the salty, curly crispiness just makes them irresistible. One of the reasons I started this blog was to have my family's recipes documented. As with most of us, when my family is cooking, they just eye the ingredients. Now, I have long documented family recipes for future generations to enjoy.

When my mom makes these ribs, she uses the ribs or has the butcher cut the ribs. I used baby back legs and didn't want to mess up cutting the ribs. I just cut them to separate the ribs. It is best if you can marinate the ribs overnight. The taste will be bold and you will get a nice crust on them. The marinade can be made in a food processor, or the traditional way is to knock it into a mortar. To bake the ribs, I placed them on their side on a wire rack and then placed each rib halfway through. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half. Place them on a wire rack and baking sheet, allowing the grease to drip down and create a nice crispy crust on the ribs.

Danny grew up eating enselada de nopales or cactus salad. He lived his childhood in Guadalajara, so his family's recipes are legitimate. There are some recipes that add queso frescoes, but when his family made it without, we decided to do the same. Living in Arizona, we have access to ingredients like cactus, and the local Mexican markets usually have them. I went the easy route and got nopals already cut and needles removed. All that was needed was to rinse them and cook with salt, onion powder and some coriander stalks for 30 minutes. When the cactus is cooked, drain and cool in the refrigerator until cool. Then mix with chopped cilantro, onion, tomato, jalapeno and a little salt. Serve with hot tortillas to make tacos or with jasmine rice for a more Thai dish.

Thai ribs with Nopales

Thai ribs with cactus salad


For The Marinade:

  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 cup packed chopped coriander with stalks
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Golden Mountain soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Plain soy sauce

For the cactus salad:

  • 1 cup prepared chopped cactus 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, a few coriander stalks and salt for cooking
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • 1/4 minced red onion
  • 1-2 Jalapenos chopped
  • Salt to taste


  1. Cut the ribs to separate and place in a large bowl.

  2. To make the marinade, place garlic, coriander with stalks (this is where all the flavor is) and black pepper in a food processor and pulse until a paste is formed.

  3. In a bowl, mix pasta with oyster sauce and both soy sauces. Golden Mountain soy sauce is found in most Asian grocery stores. Maggie soy sauce can also be replaced.

  4. Pour the marinade over the ribs and stir to fit evenly.

  5. Place in refrigerator, preferred overnight.

  6. Bake ribs in a 350 degree oven on a wire rack with baking sheet. Place the ribs on their side and turn over after 30 minutes.

  7. Use prepared nopalitos for the cactus salad. These are cut up and needles removed.

  8. Rinse with water and place in pan with onion powder, salt and Cilantro stalks for flavor. Cook for 30 minutes or until the cactus is tender.

  9. Drain cactus and remove coriander stalks. Place in refrigerator for cooling.

  10. While the cactus is cooling, chop the remaining ingredients into the salad. Then mix everything together.

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