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Mom's Peking Spareribs Recipe ('King To' Spareribs) 京都骨

Monday, September 13, 2010 | Labels: , , |

This is my mom's version of the famed 'King To' spareribs, king to (京都) translates literally to the capital (pronounced in Cantonese) which is why this dish is also known as Peking Spareribs - Peking is the old spelling for Beijing.  This dish might sound a little similar to the arguably most well known Chinese dish ever, sweet and sour pork (咕噜肉), however I think King To ribs although also cooked in a sweet sauce is drier sans the usual accompanying vegetables in a sweet and sour pork dish.


The main difference it would seem between the two equally delicious dishes is that the Peking spareribs dish hails from the North while sweet and sour pork is a well known Cantonese, hence Southern dish.  Chinese cooking style is invariably often divided loosely between Northern and Southern.  As the northerners have a penchant for strong flavours and oilier foods - (vinegar is a huge ingredient not only for flavour but for its ability to preserve), it comes as no surprise to me that Peking spareribs originated in the North, however the Cantonese is usually known for using more delicate flavours as they are focused on preserving the original flavours of the ingredients as much as possible.  This sounds logical too as the Cantonese probably had much better access to many fresher ingredients due to Canton (now Guangdong) being one of the busiest ports even a long time ago.  I am probably digressing a little here but it is kind of fun to try to find out the origins of dishes that we take for granted most of the time, in my opinion at least - thanks for indulging me! Well, and this is purely my opinion - I think that is why sweet and sour pork has so many accompanying vegetables, the Cantonese love of stir-frys is evident in this famous dish as well!


Well, before I get grilled by some real experts on food history, I had better stick to the recipe - history aside, this is just an extremely delicious way to cook pork with crowd-pleasing flavours.  Try to pick ribs with some fat on them for richer flavour and texture. My mom likes to pick the pork which has the 'soft bones' which can be chewed and swallowed - but, if this sounds too weird, just use spareribs with a little bit of skin on if you can.  For some reason, our whole family are not fans of star anise hence this spice is never added to dishes cooked at home, but I know there are versions of Peking spareribs that use star anise.



12 inches worth of thick spareribs (try to get those with some fatty meat, the ribs should be about 3/4 inches thick)

Garlic (sliced) - about 4 cloves
1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Corn flour
2 egg whites, whisked lightly

For the batter:
2 tbsp water
1 tsbp flour

For the sauce: (You may should adjust the quantity of the ingredients especially the sugar and vinegar depending on your preference)
1 tbsp white vinegar (Yuen Chun brand)
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp sugar
Oil for deep-frying

Marinate the spare ribs in the garlic slices, soy sauce and corn flour and place in the fridge for over 1 hour. Next, prepare the batter with the water and flour. The batter is rather watery and light, if you increase the quantity of the ribs, just make sure that the ratio of water to flour is 2:1. Dip the spare ribs first in whisked egg white then in the batter and deep-fry till cooked. You may use medium heat after the oil has been throughly heated up. Next, remove the oil from the wok, leaving about 1 tbsp in the wok.

Now, prepare the sauce. Simply mix the white vinegar, ketchup and sugar together. With the remaining oil in the wok, fry the remaining garlic slices until fragrant. Pour in the sauce and allow to boil. Finally, place the deep-fried spare ribs into the wok and stir around until well coated. It is imperative not to add water into the sauce. The dish is ready to be served.  Garnish with green onions if desired.


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noobcook said...

these ribs look nicely glazed and restaurant quality :)

PeterH said...

Your Peking ribs look very tasty.

Wedding Questions said...

Yummy looking spareribs. And loved all the history you added today to your post, was a good read. You have made the ribs sound like something I could actually attempt to make thank you so much.

mysimplefood said...

This looks delicious. Very shiny and irresistable. Well done!

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Judging from the glistening pork ribs in your photos, I bet they must taste really good. I want to try the sweet sour pork dish really soon!

pigpigscorner said...

Love the glaze! One of my fav ways to cook ribs!

tigerfish said...

Look at that shiny glaze.. must be so delicious.

I am so hungry now...but I can't do anything :(

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

thanks everyone for the kind words! My mom will definitely be pleased :)

Debs said...

Oh yum, these look & sound fabulous. Thanks for the history lesson too.

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

WQ & Debs - I must stress though that I'm no food history expert but I dont find the origins interesting! What I've shared is just based on what I've read and some logical deductions..hopefully I'm not too far off the mark :)

Nate @ House of Annie said...

Good tip with the egg white dip first before batter and frying.

I like the soft bones best.

homeladychef said...

This is well done! making this is really not easy. :)

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

Nate - yeah learnt that when I was doing my chicken nuggets, Asian style!

HLC - thanks!

Carolyn Jung said...

Hooray for Mom's recipe! There's nothing better than tender sparerib nuggets like these. I can never resist them.

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

Carolyn, moms' recipes are the best!

Kathy said...

This looks great!

drglenn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jen (Tastes of Home) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosa said...

I actually tried cooking these ribs and my hubby and kids loved it. In a lot of Chinese kitchens, ketchup is often used even in Asia so I think using the word 'travesty' is uncalled for.

Jen - thanks for the lovely recipe!

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

^ Rosa, thanks for your response! I'm glad you liked my mom's recipe :D

Guest said...

Really good! I substituted boneless pork for the ribs, but it worked just the same. The crispyness of the breading turned out nicely.

I'm wondering based on your recipe, do you use the marinade (which contains corn starch) in the final sauce or just the garlic piece? I know some recipes advocate corn starch in the sauce to thicken.


Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

Hi D, thanks for the feedback! For this I only used corn starch in the marinade and not in the sauce to thicken as some Chinese recipes call for. Your sauce should thicken up as it is being stirred in with the fried pork. Did it? Do let me know if you have any other questions :)

SylviaCat said...

The sauce tastes great, and the use of egg white and batter is a brilliant idea for deep frying. I like your food blog so I hope you don't mind if I am sharing my two cents' worth here. The ratio of 2 tbsp of flour to 1 tbsp of water is not quite right. The batter turned out to be too stiff and failed to properly coat the rib pieces. 1 tbsp of flour to 1 tbsp of water worked out better for me.

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

Hi again Sylviacat, I think you read my recipe wrongly, I typed 1 TBSP of flour to 2 tbsps of maybe that's why! Thanks for the feedback though and glad you liked the dish.

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

Hi again Sylviacat, I think you read my recipe wrongly, I typed 1 TBSP of flour to 2 tbsps of maybe that's why! Thanks for the feedback though and glad you liked the dish.

Philip said...

Hi. this looks great . how did you make the spring onion slices thin and curly?

Smoky Wok (Tastes of Home) said...

thanks! I just peeled them by hand..either that or you can get a spring onion peeler :)

Louisacorrigan said...

hi there im new to tryin out these ribs, i can only get hold of normal white vinegar, will that do?

Louisacorrigan said...

also for the batter will cornflour do or must it be flour?

Debera Morrow said...

these spareribs look really good.  I used to go to a Malaysian restaurant that served a dish called Jing-Du Spareribs.  They were to die for!!  I think they were twice fried but I can't find a recipe anywhere.  Tonkatsu sauce smells reminds me of these ribs but it's been probably 30 years since I've had them.  Do you have a recipe for these ribs?  Jing-Du sounds lie a province, maybe?
thank you for your post
Debera from Australia 

Smoky Wok (Tastes of Home) said...

hi there! jingdu is just the Mandarin pronounciation for 'king to' which is basically the same thing :) Twice -fried makes it crispier so you can definitely do that as well, fry it for the first time until 60% cooked then fry again until 100% cooked. hope that helps!

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