Deep-Fried Spareribs

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Homestyle Chinese Cooking

Homestyle Chinese Cooking

By Yan-Kit So

Published 1997

  • About

These spareribs have a hot, sweet-and-sour sauce.


  • 1Β½ pounds pork spareribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2-2Β½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • 2 large garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 4 tomatoes, cut into thin slices


  • Β½ teaspoon salt
  • Β½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon thin soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine or medium-dry sherry


  • 1Β½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese red vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce
  • ΒΌ teaspoon salt


  • Remove excess fat from the ribs, if any. (The fat, if rendered down, makes the best lard.) Pat dry the spareribs.
  • Marinate the spareribs. Add the salt, sugar, soy sauce, and wine or sherry to the spareribs and mix thoroughly. Leave to stand for 3-4 hours, turning them over occasionally. The marinade should be all absorbed at the end of the marinating time.
  • Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  • Just before you are ready to cook, sprinkle the ribs with the cornstarch and mix to coat well.
  • Half-fill the wok with oil and heat to 300Β° F, or until a cube of stale bread foams slowly. Carefully add all the spareribs, lowering the heat to maintain a temperature of between 200-250Β° F, or until only tiny whirlpools are seen on the surface of the oil. Steep the spareribs, the thin pieces for about 10 minutes and the thick pieces for 15 minutes, or until they are just cooked, separating them with a long pair of bamboo chopsticks or a wooden spoon. Remove with a large hand strainer or perforated spoon and drain on paper towels. This step can be done several hours ahead.
  • Reheat the oil to a temperature of 350-375Β° F. Return the spareribs to the wok and deep-fry for 1-2 minutes to crisp the outside. Remove and drain on paper towels. Empty the oil into a container and save for another use. Wash and dry the wok.
  • Reheat the wok over a high heat until smoke rises. Add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl it around. Add the garlic, let sizzle and take on color, releasing the aroma. Remove from the heat and let the oil cook for 20-30 seconds. Add the well-stirred sauce and bring to a boil over a gentle heat, stirring as it thickens. Discard the garlic.
  • Return the spareribs to the wok and mix thoroughly with the sauce. Remove to a serving dish. Arrange the tomato on either side. Serve immediately.

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