John and I share an embarrassing weakness for barbecued spareribs. Every once in a while, we venture out to a local chop-suey palace to indulge ourselves. Although it would be difficult to vouch for their authenticity, the bright red, sweet, and sticky spareribs that most Chinese-American restaurants feature are, in their way, quite delightful, for pork and sugar have a delicious affinity for each other.
Rinse off the spareribs and then cut them into individual ribs. Make tiny slashes along the sides of the meat every ¼ inch or so, and if the spareribs are particularly fatty cut off some of the excess fat. Put the ribs in a shallow bowl or plate.
Sprinkle the salt, sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar over the spareribs.
Peel the ginger and cut it into shreds about ⅛ inch wide, the width of a wooden matchstick. Sprinkle them over the spareribs.
Clean the scallions, then smash them with the side of your cleaver. Cut the smashed scallions, both white part and green, into 2-inch lengths. Add these to the spareribs.
Mix all the ingredients very thoroughly with the spareribs, then set aside to marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Heat your wok, or whatever pan you use for deep-fat frying, over a high flame for 15 seconds, then pour in the oil. It may take 5 or 10 minutes until the oil is hot enough for cooking; it should be practically smoking.
When the oil is ready, put in the spareribs. (Depending on the amount of oil you use, you may want to cook the spareribs in several batches.) Fry the spareribs for 5 minutes, or until they have turned very dark brown and are quite dry and crisp, then remove them from the oil with chopsticks or a slotted spoon and let them drain for about 1 minute on some paper towels. Serve immediately.
© 1976 Ellen Schrecker. All rights reserved.