Supearibu No Nikomi: Braised Spare Ribs

Who doesn't love a plate of tender ribs? The type where the meat is practically falling off the bone and the delicious sweet sauce is sticking to your fingers. I came across this recipe while looking for some exciting Japanese meals to try for the holidays, and it caught my attention right away. I had never made ribs before, but I was undeterred and ran right over to the store to buy some. 

Usually the preferred method of cooking ribs is on the grill or in the oven, but this recipe did things a little different. Most Japanese kitchens are much smaller than those of the west. I often get annoyed if my new rental has only six feet of counters and no dishwasher (what is this, the stone age?), but for an average apartment in Japan that would be quite the luxury. A small counter, a large sink, a tiny refrigerator and a stove top is what you'll usually find. Not only does this not include a dishwasher (which I've been living without for a few months now and am practically crying myself to sleep over), but you might have spotted another absent item, one that is far more essential than a dishwasher. That's right, there usually isn't any oven.

You might be wondering how one ever survives without an oven. Simple, most Japanese recipes are made on the stove, or can be achieved in a convection microwave. It's no coincidence that Japan is where the bread machine was born. Thus, this spare rib recipe involves boiling the ribs in a broth made from dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and brown sugar. Leaving it to reduce down on the stove for about an hour and a half gives it a perfect tenderness and flavor that you'll want to eat everyday.

While making this, one of the first steps is to boil the ribs in water for a few minutes, then drain. This gets some of the excess fat off, which is fantastic and works perfectly. However, plain boiled ribs smell terrible! I was not aware of this and had a few frantic moments of rummaging through he trash to find the package and check the date. Then I had to go and get my sister to make her smell it. Luckily, she's more experienced in this sort of thing and told me not to worry. 

I'm glad she did, because the finished product not only smells amazing, but tastes like the most delicious pork in the world. It's sweet, tangy, juicy, and a garnish of scallions gives it a fresh bite. I served it with white rice, which perfectly complemented the rich meat, add in a fresh green salad and you're set. Plus you'll be licking your fingers to savor every bit of the flavor. 

Christmas is coming, and it happens to be one of those holidays that doesn't have a set menu. It might be difficult to improvise for Thanksgiving, but with Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years there is plenty of dinners to plan. I highly suggest making one of them Japanese spear ribs, you and your family will be in meaty heaven!

Until Next time, don't for get to lick your fingers!