Monday, September 21, 2009

The Real Sweet and Sour Pork: 糖醋排骨

In an effort to contribute to Bridget's goal of becoming a rarity in the cooking world, a white chef proficient in cooking authentic Chinese food, I did a demo on one of my favorite dishes that I had learned from my mom-sweet & sour pork 糖醋排骨 (sugar-vinegar ribs). This means none of the nasty gloopy corn starch, corn syrup, and MSG and no deep frying.

This dish is incredibly simple and tastes so much better than the versions you get at restaurants in China or the U.S.

Pork Ribs (ask the butcher to cut them into 1 inch chunks)
Olive Oil
Soy Sauce
Vinegar (Rice or Black)
Sugar (Granulated or Rock)
Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Rock Sugar, and Whiskey
My mom's rule of thumb on cooking chunks of meat is to give the meat a hot bath to rid the meat of blood and some fat. Dunk the ribs in a pot of boiling water. Once they have turned light brown on the outside, immediately take them out.

Ribs in a Hot Bath

Heat a greased pan, and brown the ribs. Add whiskey into the pan after the ribs have been lightly browned, and let the juices simmer a bit. Pour in some soy sauce. Always pour less than what you intuit. Let the soy sauce seep into all sides of the rib chunks evenly, then add vinegar (less amount than the soy sauce but more than what you intuit). Cover the pan for a few minutes as the pork simmers at a low medium. Take off the lid and add some sugar. Keep on turning the ribs as they caramalize in the pan. Once the sauce thickens, turn down the heat and taste a small piece of meat. If it's too salty or vinegary, add a little bit of water and sugar. If too sweet, add a little bit of vinegar.
Ribs Browning; Ribs Caramelizing

The REAL Sweet and Sour Pork
Mom, thanks for making this dish for me throughout my childhood!

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