Slow-Braised Szechuan Pork Ribs (and subsequent sandwiches)

This is modified with different quantities and a few different ingredients from a recipe for pork belly from Fuschia Dunlop’s ‘Sichuan Cookery’,  a fantastic book given to be by ZJ as a wonderful surprise present. It takes about 10 mins prep time, with about 2 hours in the oven on a low heat. To go with it CD made a delicious Szechuan steamed aubergine dish with a great dressing and courgette dish.

This served 3, then several days of sandwiches, so would feed 5 I think

Ingredients:

1.3 kilo rack of pork ribs, skin on or off

3 tablespoons sugar

1 star anise

1 piece cinnamon bark/stick

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

½ tablespoon chilli-bean paste (a fermented soybean paste in oil with chillis) – optional

2 spring onions with green bits, cut into 3-4 inch sections

500 ml chicken stock

500 ml water (or just 1 litre water if you have no fresh stock)

2-3 inch piece of ginger, skin on, bashed with the flat of a knife, and cut into three

2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine, or sherry if you don’t have any

How I made it:

Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees. Bring large pan of boiling water to boil, and drop in pork rib rack for 3 minutes. Remove, then discard water.  In a pan large enough to contain all the ingredients, heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable or flavourless oil on a high heat, add rack of ribs and fry for a few minutes on both sides. Then add star anise, cinnamon bark, ginger, spring onions, and the rest of the ingredients. Make sure the pork is covered by the stock/water and bring to a simmering boil. Then put in the oven for 2-3 hours. After this time, remove meat and reduce sauce a bit for a few minutes. Check for seasoning, if necessary add a touch more light soy sauce. Then place ribs in a dish and pour sauce over. Serve ribs with rice and a few vegetable sides like those named above, or some stir-fried or steamed greens with garlic. The pork fat is in fact the best and most delicious part of this recipe, as it takes up the flavour.

Eaten with:

Rice, veg sides and beer.

NB. Sandwich the next day

Remove ribmeat from bones, place with a few bits of fat on buttered bread with a thin spreading of mayo. Add some thinly sliced pickled cucumber, a bit of chilli sauce (I used Sriracha) and a scattering of finely sliced spring onion tops. Season with salt and pepper. Fresh cucumber and shredded iceberg lettuce would also be good instead of pickled cucumber.

Furthermore:

Once it went cold, under a thin layer of cooking fat, the cooking liquor turned into a crystal-clear jelly, which would be wonderful if melted in a pan on a low heat and tossed with some noodles and fresh vegetables.

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