Preparation / Directions:
*(A slightly lesser amount of mild honey can be substituted, but is not recommended)
The following recipe is from Barbara Tropp's China Moon Cookbook. Tropp recommends first parboiling the ribs with stock, Chinese rice wine, Szechwan peppercorns and fresh ginger, but I smoked the ribs using lump, oak and apple wood. I used a rub containing onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and Chinese 5-spice powder.
To make the sauce, heat a wok or heavy skillet over high heat until a bead of water evaporates on contact. Add the oil and swirl to glaze the pan. When the oil is smoking, add the plum tomatoes and toss briskly until seared and browned in spots, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the tomatoes and any juices into a food processor. Add the drained sun-dried tomatoes and process until smooth.
In a non-aluminum saucepan, combine the tomato mixture with all of the remaining sauce ingredients through the ginger. Bring to a slow simmer, stirring occasionally, until the maltose dissolves, about 2 minutes. Let the sauce cool to room temperature. Use immediately or seal and refrigerate for a day or more.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Move the oven rack to the middle position.
Place the uncut spareribs, curved side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Brush two-thirds of the sauce over the spareribs. Bake until glazed, about 15 minutes. (The spareribs can be cooled and refrigerated at this point. Let come to room temperature before finishing.)
About 30 minutes before serving, if necessary, preheat the oven to 375F.
Cut the sparerib racks lengthwise into individual ribs. Glaze the top and sides of each rib with the remaining sauce and put the ribs, curved side up and not touching, on a baking sheet. Bake until glazed and hot, 10-12 minutes.
Serve the ribs hot from the oven. Heap in a playful tangle and garnish with a thick sprinkle of the scallion rings