The Breath of a Wok | Simon & Schuster, 2004 | Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal|
Walter Kei of Hong Kong likes to flour these spareribs and then deep-fry them, but I prefer pan-frying and then braising them. Kei finishes the sauce with lime juice and butter; this twist reflects the innovative style of Hong Kong cooks.—Grace Young
Active time: 25 minutes | Total time: 3 hours .
Walter Kei’s Sweet and Sour Spareribs Recipe
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon Shao-Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds lean baby back pork spareribs, cut into single ribs
- 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup Chinkiang or balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon lime zest, optional
1. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the sugar, cornstarch, rice wine, soy sauce, and the 1/2 teaspoon oil. Add the spareribs and combine. Marinate 1 hour. Pat dry completely with paper towels.
2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and add the spareribs, meat side down, spreading them in the wok. Reduce the heat to medium and pan-fry undisturbed 5 minutes, letting the spareribs brown. Then, using a spatula, turn the spareribs over and pan-fry an additional 2 minutes.
3. Add the brown sugar, vinegar, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt with 1/3 cup water to the wok and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the ribs meat side down. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is tender. Add the butter and lime juice and stir to combine. Garnish with lime zest if desired.
Walter Kei’s sweet and sour spareribs recipe © 2004 Grace Young and Alan Richardson. Photo © 2004 Alan Richardson. All rights reserved.