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Hawaiian Sweet & Sour Pork Ribs
You will discover a Hawaiian symphony of flavors in every bite of this incredible dish. Tender baby back ribs with notes of sweet brown sugar combined with tart apple cider vinegar. Mysterious umami-rich flavor of Chinese fermented black beans, sweet pineapple, and soy sauce combine with fresh garlic and ginger to give you a climactic ending that's well-deserved of a standing ovation.
1 1/2 pounds of baby back pork spareribs (one rack of ribs)
cut into individual pieces
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained with juice reserved
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons fermented Chinese black beans*, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 tablespoons water
toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Cut baby back spareribs apart and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place the ribs in a roasting pan, covered tightly with double-thickness foil and bake for 2 hours at 275˚F.
Whisk ketchup, vinegar, reserved pineapple juice, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, Chinese black beans, chili sauce, and soy sauce in a pot. Bring mixture to a boil then simmer everything gently for approximately 10 minutes. Stir often.
Meanwhile, stir butter into a large hot skillet. When butter melts and just starts to brown, stir in all of the pineapple chunks without the juice. Cook, stirring, until pineapple is caramelized and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Now add the pineapple chunks to the ketchup mixture, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
Combine cornstarch with water and add to the sauce to thicken. Bring sauce to a full boil to properly thicken the cornstarch.
Put ribs in serving bowls and pour the thickened sauce and pineapple over the ribs to cover. Let rest for a minute or two, then serve with Gingered Jasmine Rice and Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce.
Makes 2 servings.
Note: *Fermented Chinese black beans (aka salted black beans) are actually fermented soybeans which adds a wonderful umami-rich flavor to this dish. It is available in the asian food section of most grocery stores including Friendly Market and Misaki's here on Moloka'i. It comes in little 8 ounce plastic bags, which is better tasting than brands in a jar. I usually add a little olive oil to them and keep it in a small jar in the door of my refrigerator. It can be added to a variety of stir fry dishes. It's nice to have on hand.