Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs: A Regional Delight

Sweet and sour spare ribs is a popular dish in Vietnam, and there are many ways to prepare it. Today, mayhay.vn will share two distinct recipes: one from the North and the other from the South. Try them both and delight your taste buds with these regional variations!

Ingredients

  • 500g of tender pork ribs
  • 4 shallots
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 fresh chilies
  • 3-5 tomatoes
  • Essential seasonings: broth mix, fish sauce, salt, MSG, cooking oil, pepper, sugar, and vinegar.

Note: Adjust the amount of ingredients to suit your taste. However, for the best flavor, avoid using too much or too little of any single ingredient, as this can affect the natural taste of the dish.

Selecting the Best Ribs

To make delicious sweet and sour spare ribs, it is essential to choose fresh, high-quality pork ribs. Here are some tips to help you select the best ones:

– Color: Look for ribs with a light pink color, which indicates freshness.

– Smell: Fresh ribs should not have an unpleasant odor.

– Texture: The meat should feel slightly bouncy when touched, indicating good elasticity.

– Bones: Choose ribs with smaller bones, as they tend to have more meat and less fat.

Northern-Style Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

Peel and wash the shallots and garlic, then crush and finely chop them. Set aside in a bowl.

For the chilies, choose fresh horn chilies. Cut them lengthwise, remove the seeds (to reduce spiciness and protect your stomach), and finely chop.

For the tomatoes, select ripe but firm ones. Wash, cut into quarters, remove the seeds, and chop into small cubes. Set aside in a separate bowl.

Step 2: Prepare the Ribs

This step is crucial for achieving the right flavor. It involves marinating the ribs to ensure they are tender and flavorful.

Wash the ribs and soak them in a brine solution for about 10 minutes. Then, cut them into bite-sized pieces. If the ribs are large, cut each rib into 4 cm long pieces; if they are smaller, cut two ribs together.

Blanch the ribs in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then drain and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, season the ribs with ½ teaspoon each of sugar, salt, and pepper. Wearing food-safe gloves, massage the spices into the meat for 3-5 minutes. Let the ribs marinate for about 30 minutes to absorb the flavors fully.

Step 3: Prepare the Vinegar Sauce

For the signature sweet and sour flavor, mix 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 5 teaspoons of water, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve.

Step 4: Fry the Ribs

Heat a pan over medium heat and add 4 teaspoons of cooking oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped shallots and garlic. Fry until they turn golden brown, then remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, fry the marinated ribs over medium heat, turning occasionally, until both sides are golden brown. Remove the ribs from the pan and drain on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Step 5: Make the Sauce

In the same pan, add the chopped tomatoes and 2-3 teaspoons of water. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and mushy. Then, add the fried ribs.

Pour in the prepared vinegar mixture and adjust the seasoning to taste. Simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens. Finally, add the chopped chilies and cook for another 2 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy

Turn off the heat and transfer the ribs and sauce to a serving dish. Garnish with the fried shallots and garlic. Your Northern-style sweet and sour spare ribs are ready to be devoured!

Tip: For an extra kick, sprinkle some freshly ground pepper on top.

Note: If you prefer a sweeter taste, you can use honey instead of sugar. However, use twice the amount of honey as you would sugar, as honey is less sweet.

Desired Outcome

The Northern-style sweet and sour spare ribs should have the following characteristics:

  • The meat and sauce should have a thick consistency, not watery.
  • The dish should be well-seasoned, with a balance of sweet, sour, salty, and savory flavors.
  • The ribs should be tender and juicy, not overcooked or dry.

2. Central-Style Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs

In Central Vietnam, sweet and sour spare ribs are prepared with a unique twist. If you’re curious about this regional variation, follow the recipe below.

Ingredients

  • 500g of tender pork ribs
  • 3 ripe chilies
  • 4 teaspoons of white sugar
  • Peanut oil
  • Rice vinegar
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Coriander
  • Other seasonings: broth mix, MSG, pepper, fish sauce, and cooking oil

Steps to Prepare Central-Style Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs

To create this delicious dish, follow these steps:

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

Wash the ribs and soak them in a brine solution for about 5 minutes to remove any unpleasant odors. Rinse and drain the ribs in a colander.

Cut the ribs into bite-sized pieces. Peel and wash the onions and garlic, then crush and grind them.

For the ginger, wash, peel, and crush it. Wash the chilies, remove the seeds and membranes, and cut into small pieces.

Step 2: Boil and Marinate the Ribs

In a pot, boil some water with a pinch of salt and a few slices of crushed ginger. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the ribs and cook for about 1 minute. This step helps eliminate any unpleasant odors and makes the ribs more tender and flavorful.

Remove the ribs from the pot and place them in a bowl. Season with broth mix, MSG, sugar, ground onions, garlic, and chilies to taste. Mix well to ensure the ribs are evenly coated.

Add 3 teaspoons of rice vinegar and gently mix. Let the ribs marinate for about 45 minutes to absorb the flavors.

Step 3: Fry the Ribs

Heat a pan over medium heat and add some peanut oil. Fry the marinated ribs, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown. For the best flavor, fry the ribs in the oil used to fry the onions and garlic.

Step 4: Serve and Enjoy

Arrange the fried ribs on a serving dish and garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Your Central-style sweet and sour spare ribs are ready to be savored!

Desired Outcome

The Central-style sweet and sour spare ribs should have the following characteristics:

  • The meat should be cooked through, tender, and juicy, with a sweet and slightly spicy flavor.
  • The ribs should have a golden color, not burnt or undercooked.
  • The sauce should be well-absorbed into the meat, with a balanced sweet, sour, and spicy taste.

3. Southern-Style Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs

In Southern Vietnam, sweet and sour spare ribs are prepared with a unique twist. This recipe uses tender pork ribs and a blend of flavorful ingredients. Let’s dive into the Southern-style recipe below.

Ingredients

  • 500g of tender pork ribs
  • 4 shallots
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 green chili
  • 3 stalks of green onion
  • Seasonings: broth mix, salt, sugar, pepper, apple cider vinegar, and cooking oil

Steps to Prepare Southern-Style Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs

Step 1: Prepare the Ribs

This step is crucial for removing any unpleasant odors and ensuring the ribs are tender and flavorful. First, wash the ribs and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Blanch the ribs in boiling water for 1-2 minutes to remove any impurities.

Drain the ribs in a colander and set aside to cool. In a bowl, marinate the ribs with broth mix, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Let the ribs marinate for about 2 hours to absorb the flavors fully.

Step 2: Prepare the Other Ingredients

Peel and wash the shallots and garlic, then crush and finely chop them. Wash the chili, cut it lengthwise, remove the seeds and membranes, and cut into large pieces.

For the green onions, trim the roots, remove any wilted leaves, and wash thoroughly. Cut the green onions into small pieces.

For the apple cider vinegar mixture, combine 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 3 tablespoons of water, and 1/3 tablespoon of salt. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can substitute lemon juice.

Step 3: Fry the Ribs

Heat a pan over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of cooking oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped shallots and garlic. Fry until they turn golden brown, releasing their aromatic flavors. Then, add the marinated ribs.

Fry the ribs, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown on all sides. Adjust the heat to low and continue cooking, ensuring even cooking.

Step 4: Make the Sauce

When the ribs are golden brown, pour in the prepared apple cider vinegar mixture. Add the chopped chilies, adjusting the amount to your preferred spiciness.

Continue cooking until the sauce thickens. Add the green onions and a pinch of ground pepper. Stir well and turn off the heat. Your Southern-style sweet and sour spare ribs are ready to be served!

Desired Outcome

The Southern-style sweet and sour spare ribs should have the following characteristics:

  • The ribs should have an appealing color, neither burnt nor undercooked.
  • The sauce should be thick and have a balanced sweet, sour, salty, and spicy taste.
  • The ribs should be well-seasoned, tender, and juicy, not dry or tough.

4. Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs with Tomatoes

For a unique twist on the traditional dish, try making sweet and sour spare ribs with tomatoes. This recipe incorporates colorful and nutritious ingredients like bell peppers, onions, pineapple, cucumbers, and, of course, tomatoes. Let’s get started on this restaurant-worthy dish!

Ingredients

  • 400g of tender pork ribs
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • Seasonings: fish sauce, sugar, pepper, salt, and other spices as desired

Steps to Prepare Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs with Tomatoes

Follow these simple steps to create a delicious and unique dish:

Step 1: Prepare and Marinate the Ribs

Wash the ribs and soak them in a brine solution for a few minutes to remove any unpleasant odors. Cut the ribs into bite-sized pieces.

In a bowl, marinate the ribs with 40ml of fish sauce, 60g of sugar, and 5g of pepper per 400g of ribs. Adjust the amount of pepper to your preferred spiciness. Refrigerate the ribs for about 40 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Step 2: Prepare the Other Ingredients

For the tomatoes, select ripe ones and wash them thoroughly. Cut them into small, wedge-shaped pieces.

For the pineapple, choose a green one, as it will have a pleasant sour taste and won’t disintegrate during cooking. Peel, core, and cut the pineapple into 3 cm cubes.

Wash the cucumber and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Similarly, wash and chop the onion, bell pepper, and celery into small pieces.

Step 3: Fry the Ribs

Heat a pan over medium heat and add some cooking oil. When the oil is hot, add the marinated ribs and fry until they are golden brown. This step helps seal in the juices and flavors.

Step 4: Make the Sauce

In the same pan, add the chopped onions and fry until golden brown. Then, add the tomatoes and cook until they are soft. Next, add the cucumber, bell pepper, and celery. Stir-fry until all the vegetables are cooked but still slightly crisp.

Return the fried ribs to the pan and season with fish sauce, sugar, and other spices to taste. Continue cooking for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy

Transfer the ribs and vegetables to a serving dish and enjoy while hot with rice or noodles. This unique dish is sure to impress your family and friends!

5. Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs with Tamarind

For a unique twist on the classic dish, try making sweet and sour spare ribs with tamarind. The sour flavor of tamarind combined with the sweetness of the meat creates a mouthwatering dish. Let’s explore the recipe below.

Ingredients

  • 500g of tender pork ribs
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 50g of tamarind paste
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • Other seasonings: broth mix, MSG, salt, fish sauce, pepper, and cooking oil, turmeric powder

Steps to Prepare Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs with Tamarind

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