Braised Spareribs, Japanese Style

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Spareribs are not traditionally Japanese, but this is a wonderful recipe. The ribs bathe in a marinade of soy sauce, toban jiang (Japanese chili bean paste), Worcestershire sauce, and honey, then gently braise in saké, sugar, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. The ribs can be cooked in the morning and reheated at dinner-time or served the next day after the flavors have blended. This is a meal to be shared with close friends and family: the proper utensils to eat these ribs with are your fingers. Be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand.

We had a real piggy dinner. A good Japanese house-wife would never make such a dinner: no variety of colors, similar cooking methods, and pork and pork.I’d planned to make buta no kakuni but when it thawed, it looked very small: not enough for a dinner. My freezer is getting empty but it’s still got surprises… I have no idea why I froze 6 spare ribs, but there they were.

Rib recipe today, belly recipe tomorrow…

Japanese-Style Braised Spareribs
Supearibu no Nikomi

serves 4

page 437

Marinate and Brown:Japanese-Style Braised Spareribs

  • 1 ½ pounds pork spareribs, cut into individual ribs
  • 1 Tablespoon shoyu
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon toban jiang (Japanese chile-bean sauce)
  • 1 ½ 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.

The Braise:Japanese-Style Braised Spareribs

  • ¼ cup saké
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • ½ 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.

  • 2 Tablespoons Shoyu
  • 3 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.

The Greens:

  • 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.

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