The most difficult part of the cooking process is the melting of sugar. The key in that is achieving appropriate timing and temperature. Overheating will cause a bitter taste and black color, but not using enough heat will not bring out the brown color; this will leave an excess of uncaramelized sugar in the final dish, which will be sticky and have an overly sweet taste as a result.
The cost of the ingredients is about $6.00, and the whole preparation takes less than an hour.
Caution: be careful of the hot stove, and be careful not to be scalded by oil splatter.
Step 1: Ingredients
• A pound and a half of pork ribs. Ask the store to cut them into 1½-inch pieces across the bone for you.
• A clove of garlic
• About 4 slices of ginger root
• About 2 stalks of green onions
• Black peppercorns
• ⅕ cup sugar
• Olive oil
• A spoonful of wine
• ¼ cup Chinkiang vinegar (a black rice vinegar ubiquitous at Asian food stores)
• A spoonful of salt
Step 2: Chopping
Chop the ribs into pieces (separate them) as shown above.
Step 3: Boiling the Ribs
Half-fill your pot with water, bring it to a boil and put in some sliced ginger and black peppercorns. When you dump the ribs in, the water will temporarily stop boiling; leave it until the water boils again, then shut off the heat. Don't boil too long, or the ribs' flavor will be lost. Leave the ribs in the hot water while you prepare the next step.
Step 4: Caramelizing Sugar
Note: It is easy to heat the sugar too much so that it decomposes to carbon; do not do that. You want the sugar to become a reddish-brown liquid.
Step 5: Frying
Let the food cook for one minute, then add the spoon of wine and the spoon of salt. Mix.
Let the food cook for another minute, then add the vinegar. Mix.
Let the food cook another minute, then add a quarter cup of water.
Step 6: Steaming
Step 7: Reducing
Step 8: Finished
Good job. You just made your first batch of sweet and sour pork ribs!