Red-Cooked Spareribs 紅燒排骨


Personally, I like red-cooked anything. What is that, you ask? Well, it’s a sweet, spice-infused way of Chinese cooking. Typically this is done with pork belly, or any other cut with some fat attached or can otherwise be tough and fibrous to cook with a quick, searing heat. Therefore we braise. We braise until the meat is fall off the bone tender, if there are bones involved, glistening with sauce, and deep red in hue. Which translates into all around yumminess. 😀 Now, you can red-cook a lot of things, such as ribs, as I’ve done here, chicken drums are especially good as well, tough cuts of beef, duck, tofu, or even eggplant.

I employ a method that I like when it comes to cooking ribs, the same method that I used with the sweet and sour ribs I posted about before, and that is simmering the ribs until pretty tender, and adding about a cup or so of cooking liquid to the sauce. This ups the meaty taste. My ribs did not turn out as red as I would’ve liked because I didn’t have dark soy sauce on hand. It’s different than most standard soy sauces that you come across in that it has a deeper flavour and most importantly, a deeper colour. Try to find it if you can, most Asian food stores carry it.

Red-Cooked Spareribs (紅燒排骨 Hong Shao Pai Gu)

2 lbs spareribs, cut into individual ribs and in half crosswise, if you could
2 green onions, cut into 1/2 inch segments
3 big slices of ginger, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. Chinese rice wine
a couple of big pinches of salt

3 Tbsp. oil
1/4 cup sugar
10 Sichuan peppercorns
3 star anises, broken into pieces
2 green onions, cut into 1/2 inch segments
2 slices ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Chinese rice wine
2 Tbsp. light soy sauce
2 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 cup reserved ribs cooking liquid

Place ribs in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and skim off the yucky scum stuff floating on the top. Add the 2 chopped green onions and 3 slices of chopped ginger to the pot. Pour in the 2 Tbsp. rice wine and toss in the salt. Cover partially, reduce heat to medium low, and let simmer for at least 45 minutes or until the ribs are tender. Remove from pot and reserve a cup of cooking liquid. Drain well.

Heat up a wok or large frying pan on medium high heat, add the oil and the sugar. Stir with a spatula and heat until the sugar is liquid and turning a deeper amber hue. Add the ribs, remaining green onions, ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, star anises, and garlic. Toss well, then add the soy sauces, rice wine, and cooking liquid. Cover, and reduce heat to medium. Braise for about 20 minutes, turning the ribs occasionally, or until the sauce is thickened and coats the meat. Season with additional salt, if needed.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Filed under Chinese, Dinner, Meat

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