Verdict: Win

Yum. I didn't get a chance to finish these last night, so I made them today around lunch time. Tang cu pai gu is one of my favorite childhood dishes. My grandmother would make them all the time when she stayed with us. She's since gone back home to China, and my mom doesn't make this as frequently. Now that I live on my own, I wanted to try recreating this favorite.

I didn't quite get the sauce syrupy enough, but the flavors definitely melded into the meat. I loved how the ginger tones actually came through each bite - I'm not sure if that has anything to do with the fact that I let the meat sit in the ginger/scallion broth over night (on accident)? I was also worried that the meat wouldn't be tender enough because I had cooked it so long, but it was still tender and quite good. Note: less vinegar, more sugar.

Tang Cu Pai Gu (Sweet and Sour Ribs) from Steamy Kitchen
Yield: Serves 4

1 ½ pounds meaty spare ribs, cut into bite-size sections (baby back ribs preferred)
2-inch section of ginger, sliced into 1/2-inch “coins” and smashed
6 green onions, cut into 2-inch sections
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
generous pinch of salt
2 tablespoons high heat cooking oil
2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 ½ tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Place the ribs in a saucepan of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim the water, then add half of the ginger, half of the green onions, the Chinese rice wine and salt. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes until the meat is cooked and tender. Continue skimming the pot. Strain and set aside, reserving the cooking liquid.

Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat until very hot. Pour in the cooking oil and add the remaining ginger slices and green onions. Stir fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the strained spare ribs and stir fry for 2 minutes in the fragrant oil.

Add 1 cup of the cooking liquid, the dark soy sauce and sugar. Simmer over a medium flame, spooning the liquid over the ribs, until the sauce has reduced to a heavy, syrupy consistency.

Add the vinegar and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the flavors have fused. Off the heat, stir in the sesame oil.


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