Fragrant and Hot Spare Ribs – More Asian Flavours

With the success of steamed spare ribs with black beans and chilies from Fuschia Dunlop‘s Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, I found another, slightly more complex recipe for ribs earlier in the book.

Fragrant-and-hot spare ribs (xian la pai gu) under the Street Food section, find meaty ribs luxuriating in chopped garlic, ginger, chilie bean paste, chopped salted chilies, ground cumin, dried chilie flakes and sesame seeds, and finished with a quickly-cooked coating of finely chopped scallions and red pepper. Of note is the use of cumin, that appears as an integral flavouring in many of the book’s recipe. To me, cumin has always been something I’ve associated more with Middle Eastern, Indian and even Mexican cuisine, but here it appears in the cuisine of Hunan. Curious, isn’t it?
Opting out of the required deep frying of the ribs, I simmered them until tender, reserving the broth, adding a few tablespoons to the stir frying of the flavour-packing ingredients.
This lusciously delicious dish is best eaten with your hands, providing a primordial pleasure along with its multi-layered moreish flavours. An ultimate street food or failing that, a brilliant dish for an outdoor fete.
The three colours are very reminiscent of something you’d see in Mexico, celebrating the red, green and white of their national flag. And of course, the chilie pepper really brought fiery nuances to many of China’s regional cuisines.
Viva Mexico! Viva China!

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