I love spareribs, and though they are not usual in traditional Japanese cooking, I’m glad Ms. Shimbo included a recipe in The Japanese Kitchen. The ribs are braised in a mixture of sake, sugar, shoyu, and komezu (rice vinegar). Once the ribs are braised, the flavors really develop if you refrigerate them to serve the following day, though you can serve them immediately. I posted about these ribs last December, and I present my version of the recipe in this post.
Japanese-Style Braised Spareribs
Supearibu no Nikomi
Marinate and Brown:
- 3 to 4 pounds pork spareribs (original recipe=1 1/2 pounds!!!), cut into individual ribs
- 1 Tablespoon shoyu
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon toban jiang (Japanese chile-bean sauce)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
- vegetable oil for browning the ribs
Marinate the ribs for 30 to 60 minutes. Remove ribs from marinade (discard the sauce). Heat a skillet, and add oil. Over medium heat, brown all sides of the ribs. Don’t crowd the pan; work in batches.
- 1/2 cup sake
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup water
Combine the above in a large pot, and add the browned ribs. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, covered, over low heat for 30 minutes.
- 1/4 cup Shoyu
- 6 Tablespoons komezu (rice vinegar)
Add the above ingredients and cook, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Turn or baste the ribs several times. When the meat is tender, you can let the ribs cool in the sauce and refrigerate to finish later in the day. If you hold the ribs for later, warm them gently in the sauce. Ms. Shimbo finishes the recipe here, but I like the extra browning you get by grilling or broiling the ribs for a short time and Mark Bittman inspired me to finish the ribs under the broiler.
Note: Ribs are very fatty, so getting rid of extra fat is a good idea. One benefit of refrigerating the braised ribs is that you can easily de-fat the sauce once it is chilled. As the sauce cools, fat rises to the top, and when it’s chilled it hardens into a separate layer which you can easily lift off and discard. If you want to eat the ribs right away, the easy way to get rid of excess fat is to use a fat separator. Check out the next post here in Tess’s Japanese Kitchen to see what I did!
- 10 ounces chrysanthemum or spinach in a bunch with stems aligned
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
In a medium pot of salted boiling water with the sesame oil added, cook the stem end of the greens for 1 minute, then immerse the leaves for 1 minute. Drain and cool under cold running water. Divide the bunch into halves, and place one half with stems to the right and the other half to the left on a bamboo rolling mat. Roll and squeeze them to remove excess water. Unroll the mat, cut off the root ends, and cut the roll into 2″ lengths.
Put the ribs on a plate and arrange greens around them. Pour some of the braising liquid over them. Serve with plain white rice.
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