I've never really made much Asian food on my own before, so I was intrigued to check out this recipe for sweet and sour pork spare ribs. Since, as I just mentioned, I don't make much Asian food, however, I substituted a few ingredients to make the recipe a little more friendly for the standard kitchen -- white wine vinegar instead of rice wine, balsamic vinegar instead of Chinese black vinegar. I didn't notice anything particularly lacking from the dish, and thought the sauce had nice balance. In fact, this sauce could be used for any meat -- chicken or beef would go just as well with this sour/sweet combination, and might be even easier to cook. The spare ribs were delightful, though, and I would make them again in a heartbeat.
Sweet and Sour Pork Spare Ribs
1 lb pork spare ribs
4 green onions
small piece ginger
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
Start by chopping the spare ribs into inch and a half long segments. Or, if you don't want to wrestle with them for twenty minutes like I did, get your butcher to do it for you! Then toss them in a small pot, cover them with water, and bring that water to a boil. When the water is boiling, toss in half of the green onions and ginger and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the pork simmer for 15 minutes. As the water heats up and then simmers, a gross film will form on the top of the pot. Use a spoon to scoop this stuff up, get rid of it, and never speak of it again.
After the pork has simmered for 15 minutes, take it off heat, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid for later use. Drain the rest of the water, throw out the green onion and ginger pieces, and let the pork sit off to the side.
Next, heat up the canola oil in a non-stick pan or wok. When the oil is smoking hot, toss in the rest of the green onions and ginger and stir for about half a minute to let the flavors start to come out. Then, toss in the pork pieces into the pan and cook them on medium high heat for about two minutes until they start to brown.
Once the pork has started to brown, pour in the reserved cooking water along with the sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar. Stir the mixture together and simmer at high heat for five to ten minutes until the sauce thickens and turns into a glaze. Serve over rice, and never feel the need to hit the mall food court again!