One of the most colorful pavilions in Epcot is the China Pavilion. With its bold red and gold, it catches the eyes of every Guest walking around World Showcase. The exhibit boasts a spectacular garden, a 360° movie that shows off the country’s gorgeous topography and restaurants that serve authentic cuisine. This February 5th, it will be the place to be here in central Florida as the exhibit celebrates the Chinese New Year! As the calendar flips, the Chinese culture will go from celebrating the Year of the DOG to the Year of the PIG! In honor of the celebration, a friend thought it fitting to pass along a delicious recipe from an Iron Chef who makes some mouth-watering pork dishes. What makes the recipe better is that I have permission to pass it along to you!!!! So, who’s ready for some Chef Morimoto’s Sticky Spare Ribs??
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Chinese Year of the Pig
Before I share the recipe, let’s chat a little history.
In Chinese culture, each year belongs to an animal found in the Chinese zodiac. The zodiac consists of twelve cycles and is calculated based on the Chinese lunar calendar. The Pig just happens to be the twelfth in the 12-year cycle. Interestingly, each year of the Pig is not the SAME pig being celebrated. In fact, there are FIVE different pigs that the new year could represent.
In 2019, the Chinese culture will celebrate the Earth Pig. Those born in this year are said to bear characteristics such as being communicative, popular among their friends and possessing a strong sense of time keeping. They have lucky and unlucky numbers, colors and flowers with which to associate and are said to “belong to the pig.” I believe I even read that they themselves can be called a pig and consider it a compliment.
Throughout the course of history, the pig has found its way onto the Chinese calendar seven times prior to this coming year (1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995 and 2007). It will once again be celebrated in the Year 2031.
BUT ~ what else makes the pig such a big deal? It’s delicious!
Chef Morimoto’s Sticky Spare Ribs
Iron Chef Chef Masaharu Morimoto, owner of Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs (and sooo many more venues!), has a signature pork dish that customers consistently crave. Now, yes – Chef Morimoto is of Japanese descent, but he really does make a delicious Sticky Spare Ribs entree that is a Guest favorite at his central Florida restaurant, Morimoto Asia. Not to mention, they make for a fabulous Instagram capture!!
These ribs are crispy, tender, deliciously messy, salty, sticky and sweet! I mean, check this out. First, they are braised, then dunked in cornstarch. After that, they are flash-fried for that crispy crust and then drenched in the proprietary hoisin sweet-and-sour sauce.
Oh – em – delicious!!! My mouth is watering right now!!!!
No joke. I’m hungry ~ aren’t you??? Wowzers!
So, whether or not you plan to celebrate the start of a new Chinese year on February 5th (I mean, I’m up for a new year redo anyway), take a peek at the recipe below, feel free to print and enjoy! To all those celebrating the Year of the Pig, Happy Chinese New Year!! Who’s going to Epcot??
Sink your teeth into these drool-worthy ribs as the Chinese New Year begins its celebration of the Year of the Pig (starting February 5th).
- 1 rack pork ribs
- 5 oz ginger chopped
- 2 oz garlic chopped
- 1 oz canola oil
- 1 white onion rough cut
- 1/4 cup cooking wine
- 1 cup Tamarind paste
- 1 cup Hoisin sauce
- 3 cup Mae Ploy
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 cups cornstarch
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
Combine all ingredients from the Hoisin Chili Sauce list and fully mix with a whisk or a fork and reserve. The sauce can be made and kept overnight in the refrigerator.
Place Pork Ribs in an oven proof pan.
Place the ginger, garlic, white onion, cooking wine and oil into the pan.
Cover with water and add the tamarind paste and gently stir the paste into the mixture.
Cover with Aluminum foil and cook for approximately 3.5 hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit or until the meat pulls away easily from the bone.
Allow the ribs to cool in the braising liquid until able to handle easily.
Once cooled slice the rack apart into individual ribs.
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