Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sweet and Sour Spareribs

The "Shanghai style" sweet and sour spareribs are fairly straightforward.  Marinate in wine and soy sauce, deep fry 2 minutes over medium heat, remove, raise heat and fry again "until the ribs turn brown."  Then mix marinade, sugar, chinkiang vinegar, cornstarch, and sesame oil into a sauce and coat and serve.

The only unclear instruction was after removing the ribs from the first fry, the English said "reheat oil" which should have been over medium heat the whole time, so shouldn't need reheating.  The Chinese says "raise heat" which makes more sense.

 The finished product looked nice, but much darker than the picture in the book:

Perhaps they're overcooked?

Flavor-wise, I liked the sauce, far less sweet than Americanized sweet and sour glop, with more umami.  Overall, they weren't successful however, because the texture was all wrong: too chewy.  I think the problem here is the cut of the meat.  The ribs I used were cut in the standard American way, along the bone.  Versions of Chinese spareribs I've had at decent restaurants cut the meat thin, cutting through the bone.  That's not what I see in the photo above, but even there, the meat is cut smaller.  Other things to look at are the timing of the frying.  I might have gone too long on the second fry.  Should try this one again.