Fancy something to gnaw on this weekend? You will not find a finer grawing opportunity than these magnificent sticky Chinese pork spareribs – guaranteed.
I’ve tried many recipes for ribs in my many decades on the planet. Some have left the meat so soft it falls off the bone too easily; some don’t cook the meat enough so you’re left pulling out your dentures in your fight to release the flesh. Some are under-sauced; some over.
Oh, the minefield that is rib-making.
But this – a recipe I’ve tried from Simon Cave’s very macho Manly Food cookbook – is perfect.
The meat is soft and yielding; the taste is aromatic; the sauce is sweet and sticky.
OK, they do take quite a lot of effort – marinating, deep-frying, slow-cooking.
But that effort is well worth the joy as you gnaw away at the bones like a starving dog.
Not a pretty sight for your partner but, hey, in my case, she’s used to it!
Give these a go. I promise you will not be disappointed.
750g pork spareribs
700ml groundnut oil
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tsp Chine five-spice powder
3 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp Chinese rice wine
150ml chicken stock
1 ½ tbsp light soy sauce
100ml cider or white wine vinegar
1. If you have bought a rack of ribs, separate them into individual ribs by cutting vertically between them, keeping your knife close to the bone.
2. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl, add the spareribs, toss well to coat and leave to steep in the marinade for about 30 mins at room temperature.
3. Remove from the marinade with a slotted spoon. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or large wok to 180C or until very hot and slightly smoking.
4. Add the marinated rubs in several batches and cook slowly until browned,. Drain each cooked batch on kitchen paper.
5. Put the sauce ingredients in a clean wok or frying pan. Bring the sauce to the boil then reduce the heat.
6. Add the ribs, cover and simmer gently for about 40 mins, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add a little water to the sauce to prevent the ribs from drying out. Skim off any fat from the surface.
7, When the ribs are soft and tender, turn the heat up and cook for a couple of minutes to reduce the sauce to a sticky consistency.
8. Turn onto a warmed serving plate and serve with potato salad and a cob of sweet corn.