Soy Braised Spare Ribs with Bok Choy

As delicious as a Panda Express Bowl with orange chicken on a bed of chow mein is, I’m sorry, it’s just not Chinese food. Here’s something you can make relatively easily at home with not too many exotic products that is DELICIOUS and (I’m assuming) slightly healthier than Panda. Or P.F. Chang’s. But don’t get me started on P.F. Chang’s.  Just know that we probably can’t be friends if you enjoy eating there.

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Chinese cooking and ginger go together like peanut butter and jelly. It just works. Although I like the taste it gives to certain dishes, I never liked biting into a big chunk of it during dinner growing up, so I’m keeping the slices pretty big and easily removable.  After slicing, pound each piece gently with the back of the knife to release more juices and flavor from the ginger.

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I’m using a wok to make this dish because I’m too legit. If you don’t have a wok you can definitely use a Dutch oven. Just make sure whatever you use has a good fitting lid.

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There’s alcohol in this dish, so if you wanna impress the ladies you can ignite it with a lighter… or if you got the skills you can tilt the pan slightly towards the flame from the stove to ignite.  Tutorial to come, Casanova!

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Hoisin sauce is a common condiment in Chinese cuisine. People use it as a dip for roasted pork, slather it on flour pancakes for mu shu, or (my personal favorite) on steamed buns for Peking duck. So good. Here it adds a little sweet and savory boost at the end of cooking, and also serves to thicken the sauce a bit.

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RIB ON!

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Okay, this bok choy may be the easiest recipe I’ll ever post but it’s so good and manlier than your adorable wedge salad.

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How’s this for a Panda Bowl?

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RIBS (adapted from about.com):

2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
1.5 lbs pork spareribs cut into 1-inch long segments (if you can’t find them ask the butcher to cut them for you)
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
5-6 thin slices ginger, crushed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Chinese rice (michiu) wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 green onion, sliced thin for garnish

Preparation:

Heat the oil on in a wok or dutch oven, on high heat. Add the ribs and brown on all sides (a couple minutes each side or until it’s browned and caramelized). Add garlic and ginger and fry briefly, until fragrant. This will really help impart those flavors into the dish. Add the stock before the garlic and ginger start to burn, then add all the remaining ingredients. If you are cooking with a wok and want to impress a chick or something, you can tilt the wok towards the flame and flambe the ribs after adding the wine. Once the flames die down, cover the wok and turn the heat down to low.  Simmer for about 1 hour, or until the ribs are tender, adding more water or stock as needed (that is, don’t allow all the liquid to evaporate and burn at the bottom of the pan). During the last 10 minutes, remove cover, add hoisin sauce, and simmer for the remainder of the cooking time. Garnish with sliced scallions before serving.

BOK CHOY:

1 2-lb bag of bok choy tips, aka baby bok choy, sliced lengthwise and rinsed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil (2 good glugs into the pan)

Preparation:

Heat oil in wok on high heat, then add the garlic. Saute until fragrant, then add the bok choy. Toss around in the wok, then add salt. Toss a little more to distribute the salt, then reduce heat to medium low and cover for 4-5 minutes, tossing every minute or so.  Since there’s so much vegetable in the pot, it will kind of fry and steam at the same time while covered, so cooking time is minimal.

Serve bok choy with spare ribs on steamed white rice.

Beer pairing suggestion: Rising Tide Daymark American Pale Ale, or simply a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

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