Table Recipes: Ribs with Black Vineger Sauce

By franco on 7 May, 2008

Ribs with Black Vinegar Sauce

I have never meet Cecilia Au-Yang, until I opened my copy of this month’s Gourmet.

Dubbed as the Julia Child of Hong Kong, she has written forty books on regional Chinese cooking and is the Managing Director of the Chopsticks Cooking Centre, a culinary haven for those looking to discover and deepen their understanding of the gastronomical delights of Chinese cuisine.

As part of this feature, the editors of Gourmet have added a recipe I just couldn’t resist. For better or for worse, I love pork. And since my cooking palette of late has been favoring the flavors of Asia, this dish was literally calling out to me to try.

Some quick notes. I lengthened the cooking time suggested in the original recipe. Simply because, the locally available pork requires it in order to achieve the tenderness I like for my ribs. Given the longer cooking time, I have added a third of a cup of water to final braising, to avoid burning the sauce. Feel free to add more if necessary.

Ribs with Black Vinegar Sauce
Adapted from Cecilia Au-Yang, Chopsticks Cooking Centre, Hong Kong

  • 2 lbs pork spareribs, cut into individual ribs
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 cups peanut or vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, julienned into thin matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese Shaoxing wine
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup Chinese black vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water

Boil ribs in stock pot of water for 30 minutes over low heat. Remove and dry.

In a large bowl, mix together the cornstarch and salt. Add the ribs, toss and lightly cover with cornstarch mixture.

In a frying pan or a heavy pot, heat the oil. Fry the ribs until medium golden brown. Cook in batch if necessary. About 5 minutes per batch. Once done, remove the ribs from the oil and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan. Add garlic, shallot and ginger. Stir frequently. Cook until a light, golden brown. Add the sugar. Continue stirring. Once dissolved, add the rice wine and bring to boil.

Add the ribs along with the broth, vinegar, water and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer and cover. Occasionally, stir the sauce and turn the ribs over. Cook for 1 1/2 hours over low heat.

Transfer ribs to a serving platter and whisk sauce over high heat until a syrup-like consistency. Pour over ribs and serve.

Serves 4

This recipe is amazing. The tender pork ribs are covered in a glaze of black vinegar that is both sweet and sour at the same time. As suggest by Gourmet, serve with white rice so that you can soak up every drop of this lovely, flavorful sauce.

Having eaten this dish, I’ve decided to save up. It’s time to meet Cecilia and learn the secrets of Chinese cuisine from a master.

Many thanks to Bing, my ever ready photo assistant.




Post a comment
  • MAY 7, 2008 9:53 AM

    Anonymous said...

    This has nothing to do with your post and for that I'm sorry, but I wanted to leave this comment where I was sure you'd see it! I'm about to order a Cuisinart ice cream maker online and I was browsing through your ice cream-related posts. In one of them, you mentioned that you only use good quality cream. What constitutes "good quality" cream and where can I find it? S&R, Santi's, Rustan's? It'd be great if you could give me a specific brand name to look for—kind of a newbie at this. From one ice cream lover to another, thanks in advance. :)

  • MAY 7, 2008 10:40 AM

    Franco said...

    No worries. Glad to help. Good quality cream basically is made from good milk and has a high fat content. Since heavy cream is nearly impossible to come by, I use whipping cream instead. The brands I use Elle & Vire and President which can be found in most large supermarkets.
    Yes, I know they are expensive but in the end, the cream you use will really determine the end product. So as much as possible don't cut corners. Write me if you have anymore questions at Have fun. :)

  • MAY 8, 2008 5:14 PM

    Sakai said...

    i agree with Franco's comment with regards to the cream. THe fat cintent should be at least above 35%
    Now back to this post. Zong has a version of this dish thats also good...

  • MAY 9, 2008 2:23 AM

    info said...

    Hello if you are ever in HK drop me a line!

  • MAY 9, 2008 2:24 AM

    info said...

    that was me-ragamuffin girl:)

  • MAY 9, 2008 8:57 AM

    Franco said...

    Hi Sakai. Haven't tried them at Zong. I'll make it a point to try them next time.

    Hi ragamuffin girl. I'll most definitely get in touch. But more likely than not, you'll be back here before I get to HK.

  • MAY 10, 2008 10:16 AM

    Anonymous said...

    thanks for the help, Franco and Sakai :) appreciate it!

  • MAY 17, 2008 4:26 AM

    kanela said...

    Hi Franco, the ribs sound delicious. I was wondering where I could get Chinese Shaoxing wine and if Chinese Black Vinegar is available at a grocery store.



  • MAY 19, 2008 1:44 AM

    Franco said...

    Hi Kanela. I'm assuming you are in Manila. I think most larger chains carry Chinese rice wine and black vinegar.

    My personal choice? I love Landmark. I find mostly everything I need there.

  • JULY 10, 2010 10:02 PM

    lilian85 said...

    This recipe sounds good. Just wondering why do u boil the pork ribs first for 30 minutes before frying if you are going to braise it later? Is this to remove the scum? I can't wait to try this recipe cos it sounds so good.