Wuxi Style Spare Ribs
This is a time consuming recipe that requires marination.
These delicious ribs originate in the city of Wuxi, in the Jiangsu region. While they take a lot of time to make - you need to marinate them, then fry them and then braise them -, they are not very difficult to make and the results are really delicious.
They can be made with either spare ribs or baby back ribs, but if you choose the former, take my advise and get St. Louis style ribs, which are already trimmed. I got regular ribs, which include a long bone running horizontally, and separating each rib was a lot of work. You can find the more exotic ingredients at a Chinese market, but you can use sherry to substitute for the Shaoxing wine and regular sugar to substitute for the rock sugar.
Wuxi Style Spare Ribs
- 4 lbs spare ribs
- 7 Tbsp light soy sauce, divided
- salt to taste
- cooking oil
- 2" ginger, peeled and sliced
- 4 green onions, trimmed and halved
- 6 star anise
- 6 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp five spice powder
- 1 tsp ground white pepper (optional)
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
- 3 Tbsp red, black or rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp rock sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch (optional)
Remove silver skin from the ribs and cut into individual ribs. Place
ribs in a bowl, add salt to taste, pour 4 Tbsp light soy sauce and toss
to make sure the ribs are covered. Marinate overnight in the
refrigerator. Rinse the ribs and pat dry.
Heat 1/2" of oil in a wide wok or frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the ginger, green onions, star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick and let fry until the ginger starts to brown. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside.
Working in batches, add the ribs to the oil and brown on all sides - about 2 minutes per side. Remove and set aside. Drain and discard all but a thin layer of oil.
Heat the pan with the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the reserved ginger/green onion/spice mixture and saute for a minute. Add the ribs and sprinkle with the five-spice powder and white pepper, if using. Add the remaining 3 Tbsp of soy sauce and the wine and enough water to cover the ribs. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, cover and let simmer for an hour, until the meat falls off the bones.
Remove ribs from the wan and set aside. Strain the simmering liquid and discard the solids. Return the liquid to the pan and boil over high heat until the sauce is reduced to a 1/8" layer. Stir in the vinegar and sugar and continue boiling for five minutes or until you have a thick sauce. If it's still too thin, mix a little of the liquid with the cornstarch and then stir into the sauce in the pan.
Add the ribs and coat on all sides.
Adapted from KP Kwan's recipe at Taste of Asian Food
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