As a Martyr Mother, I usually steam pork spare ribs with black beans because that's the way the guys in my family like their ribs. But once in a while, Martyr Mother rears her ugly head and cooks ribs the way that SHE likes, with sour plums. The savory-sour ribs are so appetizing that I can eat a whole plate of ribs myself, and I usually do because the boys will leave it alone.
A friend once taught me to marinade spare ribs for steaming with lots of corn flour hours before steaming, so that the meat will be tender and smooth. Make sure too that the ribs are chopped (by your butcher) into bite-size pieces to increase their surface area for absorption of all those marinading ingredients.
I threw in some plum sauce just because I needed to finish off the jar I bought for making luo sang during Chinese New Year. Do you know that there's lots of sugar in plum sauce? I was horrified to find that the plum sauce had crystalized and the lid was glued tight with sugar. I had to put the lid to a flame before it would open. And as expected, the plum sauce overwhelmed the sour plums, making the dish sweet instead of sour. So please don't do what I did. Just keep to the sour plums.
Spare Ribs With Sour Plums
400 g pork spare ribs, in bite sizes (try chicken wings for kosher/halal dish)
4-5 sour/salted plums + 1/2 T pickling liquid
1/2 T chopped garlic
1 heaped T corn flour
3 t light soy sauce (I like Yummy House's)
1/2 t fine sugar
a few shakes of white pepper
1 t sesame oil
1 T shaoxin wine
1 T water
garnish: chopped spring onions & red chillies
1. Put everything into a heat-proof dish and mix well, crushing the sour plums coarsely. Leave covered in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
2. Get a pot/wok of water boiling, put the dish in and steam the ribs at high heat for 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped spring onions & chillies and serve hot. Goes well with plain rice.