Chinkiang Vinegar Sticky Ribs

Kevin and Jeffrey Pang’s new cookbook, “A Very Chinese Cookbook: 100 Recipes from China and Not China (But Still Really Chinese)” (America’s Test Ktichen, $35), brings together a wide range of mouth-watering dishes , from popular street food to family favorites. .

This particular recipe comes from Shanghai, where Catherine Pang, Jeffrey’s wife and Kevin’s mother, is from. Catherine’s great-grandmother used to make these pork chops, but when the family reconnected decades later in New York, the older woman had forgotten how to prepare the dish.

“Catherine and I eventually developed the recipe, and it became one of our favorites,” writes Jeffrey. “But that’s not what’s important. The lesson is that if you care about someone, don’t leave anything unsaid, whether it’s a recipe or how you really feel.

The recipe is below. You will also find a YouTube tutorial online at Hunger Pangs.

Chinkiang Vinegar Sticky Ribs 鎭江 Sweet and Sour Ribs

For 4 people


1½ pounds pork spare ribs, trimmed, cut between the bones into individual ribs

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) crushed candy sugar

1 piece (2 inches) ginger, thinly sliced

1/2 cup Chinese black vinegar

1/3 cup Shaoxing wine

2 teaspoons dark soy sauce

1½ teaspoons chicken broth powder (optional)

1½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil

"A very Chinese cookbook" by father and son co-authors Kevin and Jeffrey Pang share a collection of more than 100 recipes aimed at making Chinese cooking more accessible to home cooks.  (Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen)
“A Very Chinese Cookbook” from father and son co-authors Kevin and Jeffrey Pang shares a collection of more than 100 recipes aimed at making Chinese cooking more accessible to home cooks. (Courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen)

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds


Bring ribs and 2 quarts cold water to a boil in a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or large Dutch oven over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Drain the ribs and rinse them well, then dry them with paper towels.

Heat the empty wok over high heat until smoking. Reduce the heat to medium-high, drizzle vegetable oil around the wok and heat until just smoking. Add the rock sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is melted and amber in color, about 1 minute. Add ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Stir in the ribs, ½ cup water, vinegar, Shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, and broth powder, if using, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until ribs are just tender but still slightly chewy, 15 to 20 minutes.

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