Jesse LOVES Chinese ribs, especially the ones at South Beauty on Yan’an lu, Di Shui Dong and at home. Here’s a recipe inspired by my childhood Taiwanese flavors – salty, savory fried garlic, cilantro, chillies, star anise and white pepper. It looks like a lot of garlic, but after they’re deep fried, they become sweet and nutty, not as garlicky as you think 8 cloves may be.
3 pounds pork rib (about 10 ribs)
3 tablespoons good soy sauce (Shanghainese mushroom soy is a good option)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 small onion, diced
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
2 red chillies, chopped
3 star anise
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon high-quality chicken powder (鸡精，available at any Chinese supermarket)
5 cups canola oil
Cut the rack into individual ribs. Marinade the ribs in mushroom soy and rice wine for 30 minutes.
You can either cook the ribs in a pressure cooker for 35 minutes or steam them for 1 hour then let cool.
In a deep pot, heat canola oil and fry the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Strain the garlic and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, evenly coat the ribs in flour and shake off excess. Deep fry the ribs in batches, in the oil you fried the garlic with until crispy and golden brown. Drain ribs on a paper towel lined plate.
In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon garlic oil on medium-high heat, add chopped onions, star anise, chilies and saute until fragrant. Add the ribs, fried garlic, chicken powder, sugar, salt and white pepper. Shake the pan vigorously to coat the ribs with spices, about 2 minutes. Mix in cilantro at the end and serve.