Saturday, August 30, 2008

Chinese Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs

I wrote about a Szechwan style ribs recipe here, which kind of reminds me a bit like dried fried beef as far as the texture of the meat. It's not a style of ribs typically found at a Chinese restaurant. But today's recipe is more that type, sans the red food coloring. It is also very close to what my uncles used to serve at their restaurants. I remember as a kid, I would get very giddy when we had this dish. This and tan tan noodles. I'm still working on the tan tan noodles recipe.

Anyway, the Mister and I love this dish. The balance between sweet and sour is just right (not overly sweet) and is very finger licking yummy! It's so good that neither one of us say much while we're eating this. It's pretty straight forward with a little bit of prep time. The frying of the ribs is also forgiving since it doesn't require keeping the exact temperature, like fried chicken or fingers do.

2 lb pork spare ribs (this is about a slab)
6 Tablespoon soy sauce
4 Tablespoon Chinese cooking rice wine (or any dry white wine)
7 Tablespoon sugar
4 Tablespoon vinegar
3 Tablespoon water
Peanut or vegetable oil for deep frying (~4 cups)

1 Tablespoon cornstarch
4 Tablespoon water

Cut the individual spare ribs into riblets about 1.5” lengths. BE VERY CAREFUL when cutting the individual ribs. Make sure your fingers are out of the way. I make a large cut on the rib side, then turn over and make a final cut, which usually does the trick. I found this easier than trying to hack through from one side. You also want to make sure you're not using your best kitchen knife to do this. I use a very old and not-so-favorite Chicago Cutlery butcher knife to do the hacking. You really are literally hacking the ribs. If you're not comfortable with this step, have your butcher do it for you. You'll also have less shards and sharp edges that way.

2-lb slab of pork ribs separated into individual ribs

First cut on rib side

Flip and cut on meat side to separate into riblets

Marinade ribs in soy sauce and wine for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Turn the ribs about 30 minutes in, making sure all the ribs get some good soak time.

In a Dutch oven, wok, or heavy duty pot, heat oil on medium high heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Deep fry the ribs in batches until golden brown but not too crispy or dry. I usually let the temperature go up to about 365-375 degrees F and then add about 6-8 riblets. I generally fry for about 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat. Drain and set aside.

I then measured out the rest of the ingredients and mixed the slurry.

In a new wok or pan, add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and heat on medium for 30 seconds. You can use less oil if using a non-stick. Add sugar, water and vinegar. Stir constantly. Add ribs and stir to coat. Push the ribs towards the sides, making a hole in the middle, add the cornstarch slurry to thicken sauce. I sometimes take the wok off the burner to add the slurry if I feel the sauce is a bit too hot. You don't want the heat too high when adding the slurry or else the sauce may turn too gelatinous and/or clumpy. Cook and stir for another 1-2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and ribs are well coated. Plate and serve.

Serves 2-3 people. (The Mister and I can plow through 2 lbs of ribs easily.)

There you have it. Restaurant style Chinese sweet and sour spare ribs. Serve this up with some nice greens and some rice for a nice meal. We like to have brown rice with the ribs. The nuttiness of the brown rice seems to go really well with the sweet and sour flavors. Hope you enjoy this as much as we do.


HomeyLikey said...

WHOA the ribs look good!

Barefoot Plumies said...

Hi Homey and thanks for stopping by. Those ribs taste as good as they look!