I love Chinese style ribs. They seem to have a sweet plum flavour/fragrance to them and the meat seems to be caramelised. I'd like to try this at home, how are they prepared and cooked?
When cooking Chinese ribs, they are usually boiled down... (I am a cook from Hong Kong) We usually cut the ribs bone-attached into small cubes before cooking, quite unlike the western cooking style.
- stir-frying: Usually we stir-fry the rib with a sauce of choice; black bean and chili is my favourite. One can also use the sweet-sour (sometimes with the ribs sort of diced with bone attached, fried with a flour dip), and chinese preserved vinegar (This is often an unpleasent flavour for most foreigners who aren't familiar with it IMHO)
- steaming: You can marinade the rib, either with black bean and chili or sometimes plum-sauce and a little bit of salt to taste. Then just throw it in there and steam it done. The resultant meat is nicely done and we mix the sauce with the rice to make it great tasting (sort of a good idea when i'm out of money and need to eat more rice, and less meat... The sauce is then quite rich in pork fat though, unhealthy, pardon me...)
- braising: this one is often done with five spice, sometimes red preserved-tofu (nam-yu, as we call it in cantonese).
or you can make your own homemade marinade by using different amount of (1) soy-sauce, (2) salt, (3) pepper (white) and (4) sugar. Then stir-fry it, or saute it, then optionally you can add little bit of starch-water to get the 'sauce' thickened, and serve.
Sometimes we use the oyster sauce to marinade the food as well, but mind you that the quality differs, if you want the best, I would suggest 'lee-kam-kee' premium, old-style oyster sauce for this purpose, for best result, add sugar.
Basically you'll want to marinate the ribs in a hoison/soy sauce combo. You can find hoison sauce in most stores in the U.S. Other than that it is just cooking ribs the way you might normally cook them. That caramelization is the sugar from the hoison sauce caramelizing ont he rib's "crust" or outer layer. To get that, just make sure the ribs end their cooking with some direct heat.
If you're going for that bright red look, it's usually accomplished with simple red food dye.