Irene Kuo's 1-2-3-4-5 Spare Ribs

Author Notes: "This is a lighthearted title for an extremely easy and delectable dish—the 1 to 5 referring to the simmering ingredients. The sauce-coated meat is succulent, with a deep sweet and sour flavor. The dish serves 2 or 3 amply when accompanied by rice and a stir-fried leafy vegetable or a crisp salad. The ribs are also good as an appetizer." —Irene KuoGenius Recipes

Food52 Review: Featured in: These Sweet & Sticky Chinese Ribs Are Certified Genius.The Editors

Serves: 2 to 3
Cook time: 50 min


  • 1 1/2 pounds meaty spare ribs (ask the butcher to slice them into individual ribs and cut each rib crosswise into 3 pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons water
In This Recipe


  1. Put the ribs in a skillet or saucepan and set it over high heat; add the rest of the ingredients and stir to mingle. When the liquid comes to a boil, adjust heat to maintain a very gentle simmering, and cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir and turn the spareribs from time to time.
  2. Uncover and turn heat high to bring the sauce to a sizzling boil; stir rapidly until the sauce is all but evaporated. Serve hot.
  3. Note: It’s best (and easiest!) to ask your butcher to do the cutting, but if you find yourself with whole ribs, you can either carefully chop them yourself with a sturdy cleaver, meaty side down, or leave them whole. Left whole, they’ll be harder to stir and coat evenly and might look a little funny as the meat shrinks up on the bone, but it works fine in a pinch.

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