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Sichuan Red-Braised Ribs and Radish (Hongshao Paigu, 红烧排骨)

Author: Taylor Holliday | The Mala Market | Inspiration & Ingredients for Sichuan Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1½ to 2 pounds pork ribs (one small rack)
  • 3 level tablespoons aged Pixian doubanjiang (chili bean paste)
  • 3 tablespoons Zhenjiang (Chinkiang) vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 inches ginger, peeled and chopped in large pieces
  • 1 Chinese black cardamom (cao guo, optional)
  • ¾ pound daikon radish, cut in 1½ inch pieces
  • 1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped

Instructions

  • Ask your butcher to cut a small rack of ribs vertically through the bone once or twice, to make ribs 2-3 inches wide. Or do this yourself with a cleaver that can handle bones. Cut between each rib to separate them. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add ribs. After the water comes back to a boil, cook 3-5 minutes to dislodge the impurities that will gunk up your sauce. Remove the ribs and rinse well, then add to the Instant Pot or to your stovetop braising pot.
  • Make your braising sauce by adding the chili bean paste, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger and ¼ cup water to a mini food processor or blender. Process until smooth, then pour into the pot over the ribs. (Alternatively, just add all the ingredients to the pot, as they will mostly break down during cooking.) Add enough water to mostly cover the ribs, about ½ cup to 1 cup. Add black cardamom or other spice, if using.
  • Attach Instant Pot lid, make sure sealing vent is closed and set pressure cooker for 40 minutes. At end of cooking time, allow natural release for 10 minutes. Remove ribs, and set aside. Change setting from Pressure Cook to Saute and add the daikon radish to the sauce. Boil for 10-12 minutes or until done to your liking. Add back ribs to warm them up, then remove to a serving bowl. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.
  • If making on a stovetop, bring sauce to a boil, then lower heat, cover pot with a lid and simmer at a low bubble for approximately 1½ to 2 hours. Check the pot occasionally to stir and make sure the water level is good. Add water if needed. About 15 minutes before ribs are done, add the daikon radish to the pot, return to a simmer and cook until soft. Remove to a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro.
  • Serve with rice or as a noodle topping along with some of the sauce. The sauce is generally not that oily and does not require fat skimming.