Sweet and Sour Ribs (糖醋排骨 - 节节高升)
Sweet and sour ribs is a classic Shanghainese dish that will be the highlight of your dinner table. The ribs are seared until golden brown and simmered until tender, then coated with a thick glossy sauce.
The sesame seeds here have an implied meaning, symbolizing improvements due to the saying "Sesames bloom by putting out flowers notch by notch, higher and higher (芝麻开花节节高)" in Chinese. So I named this rib dish "节节高升" to wish your life can step into a new stage and rise steadily.
- 680 grams (1.5 lb) of short pork ribs
1.5 tbsp of soy sauce
1.5 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
- 1 tbsp of minced garlic
- 1 tbsp of minced ginger
Some black pepper to taste
6 tbsp of white sugar
4.5 tbsp of Chinese black vinegar
3 tbsp of soy sauce
- 473g (2 cups) of water
- 2-3 inches of ginger, smashed
- 3 scallions
1 piece of aged tangerine peel
- 2.5 tbsp of cooking oil to sear the ribs
1/2 tbsp of black vinegar to add at the end
Toasted sesame seeds as garnish
To Marinade the Ribs
Make the Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Marinade the ribs with soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, minced garlic, ginger, and some black pepper to taste. Set it aside for 20 minutes.
- Preheat a heavy-duty clay pot and add oil. Place the short ribs and sear over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side or until both sides are golden brown. We are not trying to cook it through; we just want to create some mallard reaction.
- Toss in the smashed ginger and scallions, and stir until fragrant.
- Add the sugar, Chinese black vinegar, soy sauce, water, and optionally, a piece of aged tangerine peel and bring it to a boil.
- Turn the heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes or until fork tender.
- Check the consistency of the sauce. If it is thin, turn the heat to high and constantly stir to reduce the sauce until thick and syrupy.
- Turn off the heat and add a drizzle of Chinese black vinegar to reinforce the flavor because the acid we add to the sauce is evaporated while simmering.
- Last, sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds.