Authentic Sweet And Sour Spare Ribs (Tang Cu Pai Gu)

When you are looking for the best ribs that suit everyone in the family, you should try this recipe.

Any carnivore knows that these ribs make the most incredible appetizer, although you can also make it an authentic meal.

Sweet and sour spare ribs are one of the most common meals in China and around the globe.

Most people, though, prefer to eat it at different restaurants. But did you know you can also make it at home?

Here we are going to teach you how to make it at home.

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You can be sure that spare ribs are one of the most common meals. It’s not strange to have people enjoy particular spare ribs but not know how to make it. If you have this recipe, you can make it at home too, and you can do so much easier.

The meal is surprisingly one of the easiest to make, and you will reduce it too in the hot oil.

Next, then you will add the ribs into the sauce, making it even better and delicious.

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Although it looks like a straightforward process to make the spare ribs, trust that it’s an easy one to do. The good thing is that it will cook in about 5 minutes, and you’ll then have it ready to eat.

Check out more ribs recipes:

How the recipe works

Choose the ribs

What kind of ribs are you going to use? We like to use the back of the ribs for the perfect recipe.

You will be surprised that the back ribs are smaller, but they will also have the most tender meat you can use to create the meal.

But if you are looking for the second-best ones, then you can use the spare ribs. You will have the ribs being at the belly area, and of course, you’ll have the bones more significant than those at the back area.

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  • 400g ribs,
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking wine,
  • 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce,
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar,
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar,
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar,
  • A little salt
  • 4 slices of ginger,
  • 1 small green onion,
  • And a little white sesame.


Prepare the ribs

The first thing to do then is to cut the ribs into an inch or 1.5 inches’ ribs. Next, then you will need to place them in the cold water. The essence is then to clean the ribs.

Rinse the ribs and soak them repeatedly in bleeding water, dry them for later use.

sweet and sour spare ribs step1

Sliced your veggies

Now you have the veggies that will help in the flavoring of the meal. So the first thing you should do is to slice the green onion and ginger. Try to make the veggies to the shapes below.

sweet and sour spare ribs step2

Prepare the sauce

Now, if you want, then you can create the sauce you like. So the thing you will do then is to add the cooking wine, light soy sauce, sugar, balsamic vinegar, and rice vinegar into a small bowl.

This then should make the perfect flavoring sauce to use in the enriching of the meat. You can therefore divide the mixture in proportion and mix thoroughly to form a sauce.

sweet and sour spare ribs step3

Add the oil to the pot.

Pour oil in a pot; the amount of oil is slightly more than usual for cooking. You want to have enough oil to cook the spare ribs.

So then you can add green onion and ginger until it goes to make the aromatic fragrant. With this, then you will know the onions are almost ready for cooking.

sweet and sour spare ribs step4

Add your ribs

Your essence is to ensure you cook the ribs perfectly; therefore, add the ribs and fry slowly over medium heat. Toss it a little bit on all parts to make sure the oil flavor goes deep into the ribs meat.

sweet and sour spare ribs step5

Fry it on both sides.

So then go on to fry until golden brown on both sides. It will take a few minutes to reach this level of goodness. Make sure you have it looking something close to what you can see below.

sweet and sour spare ribs step6

Add on the sauce

Pour in the adjusted sauce and stir well. Of course, the sauce we already made is enriched, so you want to pack the pork meat with rich flavors. So then you can add or pour the sauce into the ribs and all this time.

It would help if you still tried to stir it as you want the meat to attain the flavors from the sauce.

sweet and sour spare ribs step7

Add boiled water without ribs.

So then remember this one is going to be so rich you can decide to make it even better when you add the water to the mixture.

This also gives it more time to cook and thus attain the richly flavored meat.

But you also want to have it cook thoroughly, which is also why you should cook it to the bone and every other part.

sweet and sour spare ribs step8

Simmer it

Check to confirm that the water is then thoroughly boiled. When the juices boil then you can reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.

This gives the fibs enough time to keep cooking to the bone. You also want to attain the perfect flavors to give it as much tie to cook.

sweet and sour spare ribs step9

Keep stewing it

Stew until the soup is less sticky, and when the meat is soft, turn on high heat to collect the juice.

Check out the image below to know how it should look like. It’s going to be delicious but also perfectly flavored.

sweet and sour spare ribs step10

Finish it up

Season with a bit of salt and sprinkle with white sesame seeds. Give it the perfect flavors.

sweet and sour spare ribs step11

In a nutshell

You can cook the pork ribs quickly, so you need to set some oil into the wok and heat it. If you had already set the pork in the marinade, you should remove the pieces using the tongs and transfer them to the wok. Keep stir-frying for about 1 minute.

Next, you can pour the marinade into the pork meat and then remember to cover it and give it time to keep cooking. After a few minutes, you can uncover the wok, and you will notice that it has a lot of juice.

You don’t need all this liquid, so increase the heat a little bit to cook down the liquid. Allow it to cook for about 3-4 minutes.

Now it’s ready to turn off the heat and sprinkle on some sesame seeds to toast. And if you like, then you can add on some red pepper flakes.

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Ribs taste the best when making sweet and sour pork ribs. The meat is soft and tender. Please cut it into even pieces when you buy it.

Before you even start to cut it, though, you want to remember to check the side of the ribs. This should be next to the bone side, where you will have the silver skin covering the bones.

You will notice, though, that there’s a white layer of membrane that covers the ribs, and it’s also the parts where you can remove with your fingers.

When you want to cut the ribs into small pieces, you can cut them between them. When ready, then you can start to marinate as you like or not.  

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You can adjust the flavors. The proportion in the sauce can also be adjusted according to your taste. If you like sweet, replace it with 4 tablespoons of sugar, and if you like salty, add 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce.

The traditional sweet and sour short ribs are cooked after frying. It is more convenient for me to use the frying method.

When braising the ribs, add boiling water instead of cold water. Otherwise, the ribs are hard.

Use high heat when collecting the juice. The sweet and sour sauce is easy to stick to the pot. It is best to keep the pot on the side and shake the pot frequently.

Don’t let the soup dry; it’s delicious with rice.

The main reason why people today are interested in making these recipes at home is that they can alter them to their liking.

You will soon realize that it’s such a versatile choice of meal.

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Some of the alterations I make to the meal are as follows.

Although I mostly use the recipe we have above, sometimes I will often try to alter it a little to have other flavor profiles.

I like to marinate the ribs.

Like any other type of meat, something extraordinary about the ribs is that you can marinate it to create an even perfect flavor.

You know there are very many ingredients you can use when you’re going to marinate the meats.

My personal favorite is cooking wine, soy sauce, Zhenjiang vinegar, salt, garlic powder. It will surprise you that it even has a malty flavor profile. Of course, if you like, then you can also use ginger, some chilies, and any other ingredients of your choice.

So, of course, the first thing you should do is mix all your favorite ingredients in a bowl and then use them as the marinade to the ribs.

You can mix it up and then set them in the fridge for four hours or marinate it overnight. All that will depend on the flavors you like the ribs to have.

If you would like to make it even better, then you should make the sugar color. What you need is always to melt the sugar with oil.

When you then apply this on your sweet and sour ribs, then you will make it attain the perfect shine and attractive look that you always want to eat.

This will make the perfect addition to the ribs. The sugar then will make the sweet pork part, but it also makes it even more visible.

Consider the following when making the spare ribs

When you want to make a stir-fried dish like this one, you should always cook the meat for a shorter time. Remember, when you’re making the stir-fried food, they cook at very high heat; thus, it will always take just a shorter time to cook.

You should always make sure it’s cooked when you are out using it. Also, be informed that when you’re cooking the meat, if you and marinate it right, it will quickly become tender and ready to eat.

Regardless it goes through first becoming tender, it gets tougher and chewy, and finally, it will get tender again.

Instead of cooking it until it gets chewy, make sure you cook it within the first window where it’s just tender.

If you check out the professional chef, you will notice they stir fry it very fast.

If you want, you can boil the meat a little to ensure the pork attains the perfect flavors as it tenderizes. The last step is then to fry the ribs in the sugar oil. This is the traditional Chinese method of delivering the right color to the ribs.

So, of course, you can fry the ribs in the melted sugar, and this will then add to it the perfect colors. This is mostly almost the same method we used above.

If you like Chinese cuisine, then you have seen the browning method of braised meat, and this is the same one we use in this method. When you use the method, then you will attain the perfectly browned color with the crispy exterior.

So here, you won’t need to use the dark soy sauce, but you will also have the meat attaining the sweetness that you need.

Here’s how to make it

It’s easy to make if you follow the steps we suggest here.

Start by adding sugar to cold oil. Go on to keep simmering it. You shouldn’t set it in very high temperatures; instead, simmer it.

Do the same until the sugar melts completely. In the process, then it will turn golden, but it should never burn the sugar though.

Next, consider adding the pork to the sauce and keep stirring it. In a minute, you should have the pork attain the reddish-brown color. You’ll further have it get caramelized.

How to eat the spare ribs?

Sweet and sour ribs are such a versatile meal. You can make coleslaw salads, some fried potatoes, baked beans, cornbread, and more.

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Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs

When you are looking for the best ribs that suit everyone in the family, you should try this recipe. Any carnivore knows that these ribs make the most incredible appetizer, although you can also make it an authentic meal. Sweet and sour spare ribs are one of the most common meals in China and around the globe.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 400 g ribs
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • A little salt
  • 4 slices of ginger
  • 1 small green onion
  • a little white sesame


  • Prepare the ribs.
  • Sliced your veggies.
  • Prepare the sauce.
  • Add the oil to the pot.
  • Add your ribs.
  • Fry it on both sides.
  • Add on the sauce.
  • Add boiled water without ribs.
  • Simmer it.
  • Keep stewing it.
  • Finish it up.
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