Braised Sweet and Sour Ribs

4 Servings
1 hr 15 min

I always have a soft spot for anything sweet and sour especially since I grew up eating sweet and sour pork. It’s still one of my favorite dishes to eat when dining out for Chinese food. And, of course, my kids love it too! I guess my tastes have rubbed off on them.

A while ago, I discovered a different kind of sweet and sour pork that was not made from your typical orange sweet and sour sauce. Of course I loved it at first taste. The color was much darker and it had a completely different vinegary depth which at that time I was not familiar with. 15 years ago, I was just discovering red wine and balsamic vinegar. I later found out that it was made with Chinese black vinegar. This vinegar has a very different taste from other vinegars I’ve tried. I noticed a lot of recipes say to use balsamic as a substitute but they have completely different tastes. The only similarity is the color. Chinese black vinegar is easily found at any Asian grocery store so do try your best to find it for this recipe.

The ribs are a perfect pairing with rice and a side of stir fried vegetables. Pour the sauce over the rice and enjoy every bite!

Braised Sweet and Sour Ribs
Recipe details
  • 4  Servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 1 Hours Total time: 1 hr 15 min
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  • 1.5 lbs pork riblets (spare ribs cut in half)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves whole garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, sliced thin if you plan on eating it or left whole if you only want it to flavor the dish
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 4 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • sesame seeds and chopped scallions for garnish

In a medium stock pot, bring water to a boil and add in the pork ribs. Allow it come back up to a boil, turn down to medium high and let the ribs boil for 5 minutes to get rid of the scum.
Drain the ribs and gently scrub the ribs under cold water to get rid of any remaining scum.
Wash out the pot to reuse for braising the ribs.
Heat up the pot over medium high, add in the oil and the ribs. Lightly sear the ribs. Once they take on a bit of color, add in the ginger and garlic. Then add in the sugar, 3 tbsps black vinegar, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water. Bring it up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover.
Braise for 40 minutes until the ribs are almost tender. There should still be a fair amount of liquid left in the pot at this point. Uncover the pot and turn the heat to high. Allow it to boil for about 8-10 minutes until the liquid has thickened and turned syrupy. Watch it carefully towards the end. There should be about 1/3 cup sauce left. Add in the remaining tbsp black vinegar. Taste and season. Add more sugar if you want it sweeter or more vinegar for more of a sour kick.
Serve with rice and enjoy.