Sweet and sour spare ribs

An adaptation of a Chinese recipe, Sweet and sour spare ribs is an unusual, spicy way to serve pork. If available, use the American cut of spare rib. Every scrap of meat should be nibbled off the bones which can be dipped in the sauce and picked up in the fingers.


serves 4
pprox. 2 kg. (4 lb) American pork spare ribs or 4 English pork spare rib chops
2 tbsp vegetable oil

for the sauce:

Vegetable oil for frying
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed with 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp spoon tomato puree
2 tbsp spoons soya sauce
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp clear honey
Freshly ground black pepper
300 ml (1/2 pint) chicken stock
Juice of 1/2 lemon

to finish:

100 g (4 oz) mixed dried fruit (prunes, apricots, apples), soaked overnight and drained


1. Sprinkle the pork with salt to taste and place in a roasting pan. Pour over the oil and roast in a fairly hot oven (190°C/375°F or Gas Mark 5) for 30 minutes.

2. Remove from the oven and, if using American spare ribs, cut into individual ribs with a very sharp knife. Cut English spare rib chops into bite-sized pieces.

3. To prepare the sauce, heat a spoon of oil in a small pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently for 5 minutes or until golden. Remove from the heat.

4. Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients, adding pepper to taste. Mix well.

5. Return the meat to the roasting pan, pour over the sauce and continue to roast, covered, for a further 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender.

6. Twenty minutes before the end of cooking time, remove the lid and add the mixed fruit. When the meat is tender, taste for seasoning. Transfer to a hot serving platter and serve immediately with plain boiled rice.

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