A tasty dish from China’s Sichuan region, famous for its spices and sauces, you can do most of the prep in advance.
- 600ml (1 pint) groundnut (peanut) oil
- 750 g (1½ lb) pork spare ribs, separated into individual ribs
- For the braising sauce:
- 900 ml (1½ pints) chicken stock
- 2tbsp chilli bean sauce
- 1tbsp rock sugar or ordinary sugar
- 85ml (3 fl oz) Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
- 1½ tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2tbsp light soy sauce
- 2tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 3tbsp finely chopped spring onions
- 2tbsp whole yellow bean sauce
- 3tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2tbsp cornflour blended with 3tbsp water
Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or large wok and deep-fry the spare ribs until they are brown and crisp. Do this in several batches, draining each cooked batch well on kitchen paper.
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a large pan and bring to the boil. Add the deep-fried spare ribs, cover and simmer for about 1 hr or until they are tender. Drain off the sauce and remove any remaining fat. (This sauce can now be frozen and re-used the next time you want to make this dish. The dish may be prepared up to this point the day before).
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 180°C (350°F). Put the spareribs onto a rack in a roasting tin and bake them in the oven for 15-20 mins until they’re nice and brown. Baste them from time to time with the braising sauce if you like. You can also cook the spare ribs under a grill or on a barbecue until they are brown.
Using a cleaver or a sharp, heavy knife, chop the spare ribs into pieces 6 cm (2½ inches) long. Turn on to a warm serving platter and serve at once.
If you do the prep in advance, the dish can be quickly completed at the last minute and finished off in the oven, under a grill or on a barbecue