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Chinese Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs Recipe (tang cu pai gu)

Adapted from Fushia Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4 people
Calories 497 kcal


  • 1 ½ pounds meaty spare ribs
  • 2 inch section of ginger sliced into 1/2-inch "coins" and smashed
  • 6 stalks green onions cut into 2-inch sections
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons high heat cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  • Place the ribs in a saucepan of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim the water, then add half of the ginger, half of the green onions, the Chinese rice wine and salt. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes until the meat is cooked and tender. Continue skimming the pot. Strain and set aside, reserving the cooking liquid.
  • Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat until very hot. Pour in the cooking oil and add the remaining ginger slices and green onions. Stir fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the strained spare ribs and stir fry for 2 minutes in the fragrant oil.
  • Add 1 cup of the cooking liquid, the dark soy sauce and sugar. Simmer over a medium flame, spooning the liquid over the ribs, until the sauce has reduced to a heavy, syrupy consistency.
  • Add the vinegar and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the flavors have fused. Off the heat, stir in the sesame oil.


Calories: 497kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 18gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 262mgPotassium: 352mgSugar: 19gVitamin A: 180IUVitamin C: 3.4mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 1.4mg
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