These Chinese sweet-and -sour ribs are incredibly flavorful and packed with authentic flavors from my childhood, With only eight ingredients they are easy to make and will have you licking the sauce from your fingers. Your whole family will love this delicious chinese recipe.
I’m so excited to share this Chinese Sweet-and-Sour Spareribs recipe with you! This post is sponsored by NAKANO®, my favorite rice vinegar to use in my cooking. They have made it possible for me to recreate my grandma’s delicious recipe, with authentic flavors and a great taste.
This sweet-and-sour ribs recipe is bringing back so many childhood memories from when I was growing up in China.
They are packed with authentic Chinese flavors – tangy, umami, and sweet.
However, there is nothing like these childhood favorite Chinese Sweet-and-Sour Ribs! Let’s check this recipe out.
What kind of ribs to use for Sweet-and-Sour Pork ribs
To make these Chinese Sweet-and-Sour Spareribs you can use pork spare ribs or baby-back spareribs. (The latter is my favorite kind to use.)
Until now I have actually never made this kind of ribs in America, and only because I did not know where to find the right cut. In China, and from what I’ve heard in other Asian countries as well, this cut is very common and you can get it where you usually get your meat.
However, here in the US, you have to specifically ask the butcher for the cut. Luckily, it’s easy to do, in my experience, they are happy to do so! Simply ask the butcher to cut a slab of ribs in half along the long side. In other words, to shorten the bones by half.
Ingredients for the Chinese Sweet-and-Sour Rib recipe
All you need for this amazingly flavorful recipe are eight easily accessible ingredients.
Baby Back Ribs
Chinese cut, see explanation above.
My favorite vinegar is NAKANO and, in this recipe, I’m using their garlic-infused rice vinegar. It adds a nice, savory umami flavor to the recipe. You can find NAKANO Rice Vinegar in the vinegar or ethnic food aisle at most national retailers. What I like about this brand is that NAKANO Rice Vinegars contain recognizable ingredients, so everyone can clearly see what goes into creating delicious and light meals. You all know how important that is to me.
If you want to make this recipe Paleo, use the same amount of coconut sugar.
To make this recipe Paleo and gluten-free, use coconut aminos instead of the traditional soy sauce. You might have to adjust the amount of salt since coconut aminos don’t have the same sodium level as soy sauce.
Rice Wine (Liao Jiu)
A slightly sweet cooking wine traditional in Chinese cooking. Available in most grocery stores.
Any neutral oil will work. I prefer Avocado oil for its health benefits and high smoking point.
Scallion and/or sesame seeds
For garnish, however; it adds a lot of flavor to the dish as well.
How to make Sweet-and-Sour SpareRibs
It might seem intimidating, but these Chinese Sweet and Sour Ribs are actually really easy to make.
Start with cutting the ribs along with the bones to get one piece of bone in each piece of meat. Then, the first step is to skim off the meat. Add the ribs into a big pot of water. Bring the water to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Using a strainer or spoon, remove the scum (aka the foam) on top of the boiling water. Save 2 cups of the broth (the water the ribs were boiled in) and move the drained ribs to a large bowl.
Then, in a small bowl, make a marinade combining NAKANO garlic-infused rice vinegar, soy sauce, and rice wine. Then, pour the marinade over the boiled ribs and let them marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. After that, heat oil in a large pot or pan until it’s shimmering.
Add the ribs to the hot oil and fry them until they are golden brown on all sides (about 1-2 minutes on each side). When the ribs are browned on all sides, add the sauce that the ribs were previously marinating in along with the broth to the ribs. Add the sugar and salt as well. Cook on high heat until the sauce is reduced to a sticky syrup and the ribs are crispy.
Finally, stir in the rest of the NAKANO garlic-infused rice vinegar to boost the final dish with a bit of distinct and tangy flavor. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or scallion and serve the Chinese Sweet-and-Sour Ribs.
Tips for the best Chinese Short Ribs
There are a few tips and tricks to ensure the perfect texture – Crispy, golden brown on the outside, soft and tender on the inside.
- Boiling to remove the “scum” tissue that surfaces to the top of the pot.
- Boiling the ribs for 30 – 40 minutes will make the inside really soft. Otherwise, the quick stir frying process might result in a chewy and dry texture.
- Marinating the ribs before frying. Quickly frying in high heat immediately creates a crispy “shell” outside of the ribs. That will prevent the flavors from seeping into the ribs and resulting in less flavorful meat. Marinating the ribs before frying will lock ALL the delicious flavors inside.
- Finish with extra rice vinegar to boost the flavor of the dish. Just a splash of NAKANO Rice Vinegar adds a flavor boost to your favorite dishes and is all you need to help you serve up the tastes of faraway flavors at your dinner table.
How to serve these Chinese ribs
I love how well these ribs go with a bunch of different dishes and sides. The most simple way to serve them is with jasmine rice or cauliflower rice for a low-carb option and some green beans.
Obviously, Chinese Scallion Pancakes would be perfectly paired with the ribs, as well as some Cauliflower Fried Rice. And, napkins! These Chinese Pork Ribs are deliciously messy and will have you licking the extra sauce from your fingers. However, you will need napkins!
How to store the Sweet-and-Sour Spare ribs
The ribs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. And the flavor might actually improve and deepen after a day in the fridge. It’s the magic of the marinade!
They can also be frozen and stored in the freezer for up to two months.
I would love to know one of your favorite childhood recipes that you have recreated recently! Leave me a comment below and we can inspire each other.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of NAKANO® Rice Vinegars and Sauces, available nationwide at Walmart, Albertsons Safeway, Shop Rite, Hy-Vee, Food Lion, and Hannaford. Follow Nakano on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Other Chinese recipes to try:
- 1.5 lb. baby-back ribs (Chinese cut)
- 4 tbsp. rice vinegar (divided)
- 3 tbsp. sugar*
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce *
- 1/2 tbsp. rice wine (liao jiu)
- 2 tbsp. oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
- Scallion or sesame seeds for garnish
- Cut the ribs along with the bones to get one piece of bone in each piece of meat.
- Add the ribs into a big pot of water (before boiling). Bring the water to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.
- Using a strainer or spoon, remove the scum (aka the foam) on top of the boiling water. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for additional 30 minutes **
- Save 1.5 cups of the broth (the water the ribs were boiled in) and move the drained ribs to a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, make a marinade by combining 3 tbsp. NAKANO rice vinegar, soy sauce, and rice wine.
- Pour the marinade over the boiled ribs and let them marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a large pot or pan until it's shimmering.
- Take the ribs out of the marinade and add carefully add into the hot oil and fry them until they are golden brown on all sides (about 1-2 minutes on each side).
- When the ribbed are browned on all sides, add sugar and rib marinade to the pot along with the broth that you saved.
- SCook on high heat until the sauce is reduced to a sticky, syrupy texture and the ribs are crispy.
- Add salt to taste and 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar to boost the final flavor.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and/or scallion and serve.
* When purchasing the ribs, you can ask the butcher to cut the baby-back ribs right in the middle along the long side. In other words, we are trying to have half-sized bones here.
** You can use coconut aminos and coconut sugar here for a paleo option.
***Boiling the ribs for 30 - 40 minutes will make the inside really soft. Otherwise, the quick stir-frying process might result in a chewy and dry texture.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This does not result in any extra cost for you, but it does mean that I make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 412Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 737mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 24g
The Nutrition Facts above are specific to the ingredients I chose to use for this recipe, which may vary.