Zhenjiang Spareribs (鎮江骨)


I was eager to use my new Le Creuset French oven again, so I decided to make Zhenjiang Spareribs (鎮江骨). These tender spareribs are sweet and tangy, but shouldn’t be confused with the popular Cantonese dish, Sweet and Sour Pork. The tangy taste of these ribs come from the black rice vinegar, Zhenjiang vinegar, which also helps to tenderize the meat and cut through the fat rendered from the braising.

I’ve made this recipe several times, and I’ve always loved it.   I always make a 4 person portion so that we can have leftovers for the next night.

I recently found another Zhenjiang Spareribs recipe in my new Jacky Yu’s Xi Yan Cuisine Highlights cookbook but haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. So, this time I want to share with you my go-to Zhenjiang Spareribs recipe, and promise to try Jacky’s recipe next time.

Zhenjiang Spareribs (鎮江骨)
Serves 4

700g pork spareribs*
4 cloves shallots, roughly diced
4 slices ginger
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)

2 tbsp Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (Chinese rose wine)
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
4 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp Zhenjiang black vinegar
2 cups water

Chop the spareribs into 1 1/2″-2″ long sections (or get your butcher to do it for you). Rinse the ribs and drain. Blanch the ribs in boiling water for a minute and drain.

Mix the seasonings together in a bowl.

On high heat, heat a French Oven (or a wok if you don’t have one) with 1 tbsp of olive oil and saute the ginger and shallots until fragrant. Sear the spareribs on all sides. Deglaze the ribs with the seasonings and bring to a boil with the lid slightly ajar. Then turn to low heat and simmer for 90 minutes or until the ribs are tender.

Once the ribs are tender to your liking, turn the heat on high to reduce and thicken the sauce. Serve. Optionally, sprinkle some sesame seeds over the ribs.

*If you get your spareribs from the wet markets in Hong Kong, your butcher might not understand grams, so you should ask for slightly over 1 catty (1 catty = 605g).  Be sure to get ribs that are half lean and half fatty.

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