Local-style spare ribs fulfills expat's longing


POSTED: Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Often what it takes to get a noncooker to start cooking is a move away from home. Separated from familiar sources of favorite foods, it's do it yourself or do without.

“;Moving to Vegas six years now, I want to do my own cooking,”; wrote Frank Ugale. He's particularly interested in making his own sweet-and-sour spareribs, in the tradition of “;the now-gone Silver Dragon Chinese restaurant that was in the Kalihi area.”;

He's tried several recipes found online, but none gave him the right flavor.

Here at Recipe Central, we encourage that sort of thinking and doing. I can't speak directly to the Silver Dragon taste experience, but I do have a recipe that matches what I consider the local style of sweet-sour ribs — tangy, with a sauce that really coats the ribs. (Meanwhile, if anyone has a line on the Silver Dragon recipe, send it here.)

One thing to note with this dish: The calorie count. It's 1,050 per serving, with 59 grams of fat. Think about that next time you have a plate lunch. A good way to reduce the evil is to make the dish a day ahead and refrigerate it. A very impressive layer of fat will rise to the top, which you can scoop off rather than serve to your family. The dish won't lose flavor, just greasiness.



Adapted from “;Popo's Kitchen,”; by June Tong (1988, out of print)
3 pounds pork spareribs (see note)
1 bell pepper, cut in 1-inch wedges
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
» Sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup sugar
2-inch piece ginger, sliced and mashed

Bring pot of water to boil; add spareribs and parboil 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse. Dredge ribs lightly in flour.

Heat oil in heavy pot. Brown ribs. Remove excess oil.

Combine sauce ingredients, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add to pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour or longer, until meat is tender and separates easily from bones. (If you have an extra day, chill ribs and sauce separately at this point. The next day, skim excess fat, cut ribs into smaller pieces if desired, then return meat and sauce to pot and reheat.)

Add bell pepper and cook 10 more minutes.

Stir in cornstarch mixture and simmer until sauce is thickened. Serve garnished with sesame seeds. Serves 4.

Note: Some supermarkets sell spareribs marked “;for sweet-sour,”; already cut in bite-size pieces. If you can only find racks of ribs, ask at the meat department to have the ribs cut in pieces.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving (without skimming fat): 1,050 calories, 59 g total fat, 18 g saturated fat, 200 mg cholesterol, greater than 2,000 mg sodium, 78 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 54 g sugar, 52 g protein



Last week's mention of pre-ordering for the second volume of “;What Hawai'i Likes to Eat,”; subtitled “;Hana Hou,”; drew a great deal of response from out-of-state readers who don't have access to the mail-in coupon printed in the Star-Bulletin (on Page 31 today).

You don't have to miss out: The book also can be ordered online at www.mutualpublishing.com.

“;Hana Hou,”; written by Muriel Miura and Galyn Wong, hits bookstores in October.


Nutritional analyses by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S. Send queries to “;By Request,”; Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813. Send e-mail to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).