Yesterday i served a dish at the family lunch table that’s a vegetarian’s veritable nightmare. 🙄 I bought 12 prime pork ribs and cooked zanbei pork ribs, with my own modifications.
LW’s recipe was just a cup each of sugar, rice wine and soy sauce. Besides the ribs, of course!
My modifications were created many moons ago — when I started making the pork version of zanbei zhi, as tossing up my own dish is easier to satisfy my cravings than waiting for LW’s next invite to dinner, especially since she went home to live with her mum!
As I love garlic and chilly, I mince one garlic and one chilly for each rib and boost the total garlic-chilly quantum by 10%. I slow fry this before adding the ribs which I cook quickly on high heat to seal in the juice.
Then I add the requisite soy sauce and alcohol but instead of rice wine, I add vodka — the Absolut sort — as I get a plentiful duty free supply from frequent-travel relatives and friends. I slowly add honey in place of sugar and throw a dash of vinegar too.
Until yesterday, I used to slave hours slow-cooking the ribs in my trusty AMC pot.
Perhaps that’s why it’s been more than a year since I’ve cooked zanbei ribs.
However, after yesterday’s successful time-shorten version, I may cook the dish more often.
In the latest version I began by marinading the meat in soy sauce and vinegar for a couple of hours. Then I lightly fried the minced chilly and garlic and then fast cooked the ribs be4 adding the vodka, vinegar and honey. Cooking time: about 15 minutes.
After that, I quickly put the ribs and the sauce of honey, vodka, soy sauce and vinegar into a large enamel plate which then went into a steamer. After 30 minutes, I turned off the heat but left the dish in the steamer to be further cooked in the residual heat.
When the steamer had cooled, the ribs were taken out, some dark soy sauce was ladled on to add color and then pan fried again — but slowly. The saace and meat juice concoction was added till it thickened and caramelised. All this took 15 minutes.
The result: the meat was tender and tasty but came off the bone easily. And I had reduced a continuous 4 to 5 hour worth of slow cooking on low heat to just 60 minutes! 😆