Combine all the ingredients for the sauce, except the arrowroot, in a saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, cover, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce to determine the proper balance of saltiness, sweetness, and sourness. (Use more salt if necessary; if too sweet, add malt vinegar slowly. If too sour, add a bit of sugar.) Thicken the sauce by bringing to a low boil and adding enough arrowroot (mixed with a little water) to make the consistency heavy.
Presoak a large clay pot, top and bottom, in water for 10 minutes.
Rub the spareribs with
Cover the pot and place it in a cold oven.
Meanwhile, because they must be added quickly, place the onions, pepper, tomatoes, and pineapple chunks on a large plate. When the ribs have cooked 55 minutes, remove the pot from the oven, uncover, and quickly add the fruit and vegetables from the plate. Sprinkle with the remaining salt and top with a generous dollop of the sweet-and-sour sauce.
Return the covered pot to the oven and cook for an additional 25 minutes (total cooking time: about 80 minutes).
Remove the pot from the oven and pour off the sauce into a saucepan, heat, and thicken with arrowroot. Mix some more sweet-and-sour sauce with this and pour over the spareribs.
Sprinkle a few drops of sesame oil over the dish, stir lightly, and serve.
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