A long time ago I watched a Taiwanese cooking show which taught people how to cook Wuxi Ribs. This dish needs to simmer for a couple of hours to make the meat on the ribs really tender. For most people, I know spending a couple hours preparing a dish is a long time but this dish is so tasty that I ensure you it’s worth your time.
This dish has a really nice story behind it. During the Song Dynasty, a homeless monk travelled to Wuxi. He asked some people for food but no-one was willing to give him some food behind he was both dirty and smelly. Finally a restaurant owner came out and gave him some meat to eat.
The monk wolfed down the meat but still felt hungry so he asked the restaurant owner if he could have some more food. The owner gave him a little more meat which the monk again wolfed down but he was still hungry and asked for more. The owner got a little angry and shouted at the monk “What shall I sell the customers tomorrow if you eat all of my meat?” The old monk told him “you can sell the bones tomorrow”.
The monk then threw pieces of his hand fan into the pot and an amazing smell came out of the pot. Back in those days fans were often made of leaves and the smell of the meat could be smelt throughout the city. Everybody in Wuxi city wanted to buy the ribs from that restaurant and the restaurant owner then realized that the monk is not just an ordinary monk, but he is the Buddha Ji Gong. Ji Gong is a famous Buddhist character in Chinese folk stories.
Here is the recipe for Wuxi Ribs. Although we don’t have Ji Gong’s hand fan we can control the heat and seasoning appropriately.
Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography
- 1 kg pork ribs
- 10 spring onions cut in half
- 4 slices ginger
- 2 tbsp soy sauce for marinading the ribs
- 1 cup Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Chinese dark vinegar
- 1 star anise
- 1 clove
- 1/4 tsp pepper powder
- 2 pinches five spice powder
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp brown or rock sugar
Marinade ribs with 2 tablespoons soy sauce, heat up 2 cups of oil in the wok with full gas power. Fry the ribs in 180C Oil for 2 minutes and place it on a plate. This procedure is for colouring the ribs.
Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the spring onion and, ginger until the fragrance comes out.
Place the spring onion and ginger into a stock pot and place ribs on top of the spring onion. Add all the spice, Shaoshing rice wine, soy sauce, dark vinegar and water (Water to slightly cover the ribs) into the stock pot and use full gas power to boil everything at first. Once it has boiled turn reduce the temperate to the lowest gas heat and simmer for 1.5 hours.
Add sugar and ketchup after the ribs have simmered for 1.5 hours and keep simmering until the meat on the ribs is soft.