My Mum’s Sweet and Sour Ribs

Homemade Chinese food looks quite different from things from Chinese takeaways just in case you haven’t noticed. I do buy a Chinese takeaway every now and then. They have a distinct “takeaway” smell and taste to them. But home cooking is more comforting – the rice is softer, the dishes are less salty and less oily, the ingredients are fresher. A whole lot better.

My mum is not a great cook. She hated cooking after a whole day of work and she made that clear. When I was little, every time I said I loved my mum’s such and such dish proudly, family and mum’s colleagues looked at me full of sympathy. One of them once said, you should ask your parents to take you out for some proper good food.

Living abroad brought me a academic degree and taught me to cook food from all over the world. I love cooking (the gene is from my dad’s side) and trying new recipes. But this is my ultimate comfort food. A couple of sweet and sour ribs and a bowl of hot steaming rice. The taste of home.

This is really my secret recipe and I’m very precious about it (because my mum had very few good dishes of her own lol). I was reluctant to share. But to celebrate my 100th post on this blog, I’m sharing with you my favourite Chinese recipe!

The recipe is done in two stages. If you have guests to entertain, you can do stage 1 the day before. Stage 2 is very quick.
Stage 1: Boil the ingredients below with ribs till it’s cooked.
Ginger – thumb size
Spring onion – chop 2 spring onion in three
1 tbsp of Chinese cooking rice wine
700g ribs

I do this in a pressure cooker. It takes 30 minutes from when the red dot pops up, plus additional time after turning off the heat to wait for the red dot to fall. So:
1. Chuck everything in, close the pressure cooker tightly, turn the hob on, wait for the red dot to rise.
2. Red dot rises. Cook for about 30 minutes.
3. Turn the hob off.
4. Open the pressure cooker only after the red dot fall back down.

The ribs should come out almost falling off the bones. Yum!

If you haven’t got a pressure cooker, you’ll have to boil the ribs in a saucepan for a long time. I’m not sure how long. Boil until it’s well cooked.

Stage 2: add the flavour. The exciting bit!
1 tbsp Chinese cooking rice wine
2 tbsp Chinese vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp light soy sauce
5 tbsp rib stock from the pressure cooker

Look how beautiful the numbers are! I can remember all of it in my mind. It’s so simple.
1. Transfer all cooked ribs into a shallow pan.
2. Add all the flavouring ingredients.
3. Wait for it to reduce a bit. Turn the ribs over every now and then.

That’s it! Enjoy!

My Mum's Sweet and Sour Ribs

Here are the ingredients in my cupboard for Chinese cooking:

Chinese vinegar. Chinese cooking rice wine. Light soy sauce (NOT dark soy sauce). Can be found in all good Chinese shops.






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