A No-Fuss Nod to Chinese New Year

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

The first Chinese dish I learned to make was Hoisin Spare Ribs. I was a newlywed, right out of college, living in New York City. Steve’s friend Richard came to visit us from Yale, where he was a med student.

I remember making curried shrimp for dinner and being surprised when my budget-wise shrimp shrank, becoming miniscule nuggets of pink, floating in a sea of curry sauce.

So, Richard took it upon himself to teach me to cook a few things, including Hoisin Spare Ribs, and I discovered the deliciousness of hoisin sauce for the first time. This recipe requires just six ingredients and about 15 minutes to prep.

It you’re fairly new to cooking—or if you’re just too busy—and you want to acknowledge the Chinese New Year of the Rooster, try these ribs. Or, take a shot at one of the super-simple recipes listed below.

There are traditional feast dishes for Chinese New Year that have specific meanings. These dishes are not them. They’re merely a collection of some of the easiest Chinese recipes from our Special Fork database. Each should take about a half hour to prep and cook.

Hoisin Spare Ribs
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon whiskey (I use bourbon)
2 to 3 pounds pork spare ribs, cut in thirds by a butcher, crosswise across the bones

To make the marinade, in a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the ribs, and whisk smooth. Cut the ribs between the bones, then add the ribs to the bowl; toss in the marinade to coat. Refrigerate ribs for 2 to 3 hours.

Heat oven to 350⁰F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange ribs on foil-lined sheet in a single layer, bone-side down. Reserve the marinade. Bake ribs for 1 ½ hours, brushing with the reserved marinade once, halfway through the baking. Discard remaining marinade.

Makes 4 servings.

Here are some other easy Chinese recipes:

  • Fried Walnuts could be served as a nibble with drinks before dinner, or as a snack. They are irresistible. It’s a family recipe of the former Food Director of Good Housekeeping magazine, Mildred Ying.
  • Steamed Fish with Ginger and Green Onions is one of the easiest and simplest of dishes in the Special Fork recipe database, but you do need a steamer that can hold a platter of fish.
  • Ma Po Tofu is my too-busy-to-cook weekday recipe. It uses readily available ingredients and simple steps.
  • Stir-Fried Shrimp with Snow Peas is a classic stir-fry.
  • Hoisin Pork Wraps is made with slices of pork chop, green onion and cilantro, wrapped in flour tortillas, with a slather of hoisin sauce.
Gung hay fat choy! Or gong xi fa cai! Cantonese or Mandarin, Happy New Year!

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Posted: Jan 29th by Sandy_Hu