To all you carnivores out there, this one’s for you! Sink your teeth into a lip-smackingly sweet sticky rib and don’t forget your bib. It’s gonna get messy!
- Preparation times: 40 minutes
- Cooking times: 1 hour
- Serves: 4
- 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) pork ribs, cut into 8 cm (3¼in) lengths
- groundnut oil for deep-frying
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1½ tbsp Chinese five spice
- 2 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp Chinese rice wine
- 240 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
- 1½ tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp grated orange zest
- 120 ml (½ cup) rice vinegar
For the marinade
- 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- ½ tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the ribs and massage the marinade into the meat. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes, then remove the ribs from the marinade and drain on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Heat enough oil in a large wok or saucepan to deep-fry the ribs. Once the oil has reached 170°C (340°F), carefully and slowly fry the ribs in batches of 5, until they have browned – this will take around 10 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on a wire rack.
In a large pan, put the garlic, five spice, spring onions, sugar, rice wine, chicken stock, soy sauce, orange zest and rice vinegar and bring to the boil. Add the deep-fried ribs and turn the heat to very low. Cover the pan and allow the ribs to blip away for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally (add more water if the sauce becomes too dry).
Remove the lid, turn up the heat and reduce the sauce (taking care not to burn anything) until it clings to the ribs. Transfer to a serving plate and enjoy.
To make your own five spice powder:
Place a wok over a medium–high heat, add 2 crumbled star anise, 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, 2½ teaspoons fennel seeds, 8 whole cloves and 1 cinnamon stick, crumbled, and toast, being careful not to burn them. Once the air is filled with the heavy scent of aromatics pour the spices onto a plate to cool. When cool, grind the toasted spices in a grinder or mortar and pestle until you have a fine powder. Store in an airtight jar and use within a month.
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