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Garlic-Stewed Sparerib Nuggets

  • SERVINGS: 4 TO 6

This simple dish of tender, garlicky sparerib nuggets is perfect with steamed rice and a stir-fried green like broccoli rabe.

Plus: More Beef Recipes and Tips

  1. 2 to 2 1/2 pounds fresh, meaty pork spareribs, cut crosswise with the butcher's band saw into one-inch-wide strips of riblets

sauce

  1. 3 1/2 tablespoons Chinese black beans, coarsely chopped
  2. 5 to 6 large garlic cloves, lightly smashed
  3. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  4. 2 teaspoons sugar
  5. 1 cup hot water
  6. 2 tablespoons corn, peanut or canola oil
  7. 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes (optional)
  8. Green and white scallion rings, for garnish
  1. Trim the ribs of fat. Cut the strips of ribs between the bones into individual nuggets. Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. 2. Heat a wok or a heavy pot large enough to hold the ribs over high heat. When it's hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the ribs and toss until gray, about 4 minutes; adjusting the heat if needed to prevent scorching. Add the chili flakes and toss until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sauce, toss well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer, cover the wok and cook the spareribs until the meat is tender enough to leave the bone, about 45 minutes. Stir the ribs several times while cooking. 
  2. To serve immediately, strain the sauce into a fat separator and discard the fat. Otherwise, strain the sauce into a bowl and refrigerate separately from the ribs; the fat will congeal on top and should be discarded. To reheat, bring the sauce and ribs slowly to a simmer over moderate heat. (High heat will toughen them.) Serve in heated bowls of contrasting color, garnished with a sprinkling of scallion rings. Set small, empty bowls alongside each diner to hold discarded bones. Encourage your guests to eat the ribs Chinese-style, sucking on the bones with gusto! 
  3. © copyright Barbara Tropp, adapted from
    The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking
    (Morrow '82)