Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sweet and sour sticky spare ribs

The problem with spare ribs is that they need a lot of cooking and that they're very fatty, so you need to find a way of making them tender but also getting rid of some of the fat. I came up with this method, which involves cooking the spare ribs in sauce first, then taking them out of the sauce, allowing the sauce to cool so the fat solidifies on top and can be easily skimmed off. You have to do it in advance (to allow for the cooking-cooling-skimming-reheating cycle). Or you could skim the fat off when the sauce is still hot, or even pour it into one of those nifty gravy separating jugs which allows you to drain the juices out of the bottom.

1 kg of pork spare ribs, cut into smallish pieces
Sunflower oil
2 cloves of garlic, mashed to a paste in a pestle and mortar with a little salt
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
50 ml of dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
4 tablespoons of wine vinegar
4 tablespoons of red wine
250 ml of water

  1. In a large saucepan, brown the ribs in some sunflower oil. Add the garlic paste, and fry for a few seconds.
  2. Add the ground ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, wine vinegar, wine and water.
  3. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover the pan, reduce to minimum and cook until the ribs are very tender (about 2½ hours).
  4. Remove the ribs from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
  5. Pour all the sauce into a measuring jug, and leave to cool in the fridge so that the fat on top of the sauce goes white and solid.
  6. Remove the solid fat from the measuring jug, return the remaining sauce and the ribs to the pan and heat through.

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