Chinese sweet and sour spare ribs are marinated in a spunky and spirited elixir and then traditionally deep-fried before being devoured. We braise the sweetly sour ribs for a lovely velvetiness.
Traditional Chinese sweet and sour spare ribs tend to be marinated in a spunky and spirited elixir and then deep-fried before being devoured. But author Grace Young likes prefers to pan-fry and then braise the sweetly sour ribs. These ribs are then finished with lime juice and butter, a trick Hong Kong chefs rely on to lend a velvetiness and even more sourness to the ribs. They literally disappear within minutes. Originally published May 5, 2004.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Chinese Sweet and Sour Spareribs
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 3 H
- Serves 2 to 4
- 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 (Chinese black) or balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon lime zest, optional
- 1. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, the sugar, cornstarch, rice wine, soy sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon oil. Add the spareribs and combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- 2. Pat the ribs completely dry with paper towels. 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 carefully add the spareribs, meat side down, spreading them in a single layer in the wok. Reduce the heat to medium and fry, undisturbed, for 5 minutes, letting the spareribs brown. Then, using a spatula, turn the spareribs over and fry an additional 2 minutes.
- 3. Carefully add the brown sugar, vinegar, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 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.