It’s not unusual for Rich to take lunch in with him a couple of times a week and for some reason the girls and guys in the office are always curious about what he’s eating.
I’m not kidding when I say curious – they pass judgement on whatever he takes in. It’s turned into a bit of a game now so when he comes home I always ask if there were any comments.
On the soup and a piece of fruit days he gets told that it’s not enough for a grown man – and where’s the rice? They must think I’m starving him…..
When he took in leftover Thai fishcakes & glass noodle salad they asked where the new Thai place was and he smugly told them it was homemade. On the days he comes home and there have been no comments I’m always a bit miffed!
One day he took in these ribs and no one could believe I could cook Chinese. Which is true because although the recipe may have started out authentic it certainly isn’t now.
You can only imagine what I thought when a few weeks ago Rich came home after he took these in for his lunch (again) and told me the guys in Marketing where he was sitting that week wanted to try my Chinese ribs.
‘You really want me to cook ‘Chinese’ ribs for your Chinese colleagues? Seriously?!’
The verdict was a big thumbs up although whether that’s because they got a free lunch or they were being kind I don’t know!
What I do know is that they never last long in this house and Rich’s face always lights up when I tell him it’s ribs for dinner. The good thing about these ribs is you probably have most of the ingredients in your bottle collection already and there isn’t much prep to do at all. The ribs will sit on the hob gently bubbling away and before too long the meat will be so tender it just falls off the bone. Things you should know:
- I’ve put 500g of pork ribs in the recipe because that should be enough for two normal people or four people if there are other dishes. I say two normal people because we are obviously not – I always double this recipe because Rich will eat two huge bowls of the ribs on his own:)
- I started off browning the ribs but don’t bother now because everything in the kitchen seems to end up splattered in fat when I do – or is that just me? And yes I have a splatter thingy from Ikea and it doesn’t help. Brown them if you want to but there’s no significant difference in taste and it cuts down on time and cleaning up if you don’t.
- The ribs very rarely get to marinate overnight because I’m not usually organised enough to think ahead so thirty minutes or so seems to do the trick whilst I cut up the ginger and faff around the kitchen.
- I use a combo of brown and white sugar because after much experimentation it’s gives a nice caramelised flavour. Use white or brown it’s up to you.
- After seeing Sandra’s dried mandarin skins I’ll be doing my own in the autumn and substituting the orange peel in the recipe.
- That’s not a typo in the ingredients – I like a lot of ginger 🙂
Sweet & sticky black vinegar ribs
- 500 g small pork ribs
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 3 tbsp black vinegar
- 10 cm piece of ginger cut into matchsticks
- rind from 1 whole orange use a potato peeler
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp Schezuan peppercorns
Mix the marinade ingredients together and add the pork ribs*. Leave overnight if you can or for at least 30 minutes.
Pour the ribs and marinade into a wok or large saucepan along with all the other ingredients.
Add enough water to just cover the ribs and bring to a boil.
Turn the heat down, cover with a lid and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the meat is tender.
Take the lid half off the wok and turn the heat back up to a boil for 10-15 minutes to reduce the sauce which should now be shiny and sticky.
Taste the sauce, being careful not to burn yourself and adjust for sweetness or add more vinegar - this will depend on you. We prefer it more vinegary to sweet.
Serve with rice and steamed greens.
Recipe Notes* If you use a sandwich bag to marinate the ribs you may need to double bag it - I find the ribs can pierce the bag and you don't want to lose any of the marinade.
Thank you for all your kind comments about Dad and the postponed trip last week. Mum and Dad are safely back in Melbourne, Dad will be getting treatment next week and I’m off to get hugs and cuddles from my godson on Tuesday. There are four containers of ribs and rice in the freezer so it’ll be at least Saturday before Rich even notices I’m gone 🙂