Xiao Jianming’s Spareribs with Chiles
De Arbol (Capsicum Annuum) means tree like in Spanish. The plant has thick, upright, woody stems and the chile itself is narrow, curved and bright red in color. Believed to be closely related to the pequin, the De Arbol is thin fleshed, with tannic, smoky, grassy flavor and searing heat. This chile has a heat range of 7.5 on the heat scale of 1-10. De Arbol Chiles are comparable to a Cayenne Pepper. Scoville heat units 15,000 to 30,000.
De Arbol is a hot chile and a staple in Southwest kitchens. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish. Be adventurous and add them to your next stew or chili along with the other spices. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish.
1/4 cup potato starch or cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
2 lb pork spareribs, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces by butcher
6 cups plus 2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, coarsely ground in a spice grinder
1/2 tablespoon Chinese chile bean sauce or paste
3 (2-inch-long) dried hot red chiles
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine (preferably Shaoxing) or medium-dry Sherry
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon chile oil containing sesame oil (such as Chiu Chow Chili Oil from Lee Kum Kee)
Whisk together potato starch mixture and salt in a large bowl, then add ribs and toss to coat. Heat 6 cups peanut oil in a wok or 5-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until it registers 280°F on thermometer. Transfer ribs to wok with a slotted spoon and fry until just beginning to color but not yet pale golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Heat same oil to 380°F and fry ribs again, until dark brown and crisp, about 5 minutes more, then transfer to clean paper towels to drain. Transfer hot oil to a large saucepan to cool before discarding.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil, red pepper flakes, and chile bean sauce to cold, cleaned wok, then stir-fry over high heat until fragrant, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Add ribs, whole chiles, wine, sesame seeds, and sugar, and continue stir-frying until chiles are fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer ribs to a bowl and toss with sesame and chile oils.