For the Chinese, the fifth of February was the beginning of a new lunar year — the Year of the Pig or boar.
The Chinese calendar begins on the second new moon after the northern hemisphere winter begins. It is divided into 12-year cycles with each year represented by different animals. The rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and lastly, the pig or boar. Each animal imposes its personality on its allocated year.
Pork is a popular meat in China and other Asian countries. It is great in stir-fries, curries, casseroles and as a barbecue mainstay. Surprisingly, pork is not only one of the tastiest but one of the leaner meats with a high level of essential nutrients. Most of the fat is under the skin around the outside of the meat and can be trimmed.
Nutritional analysis for pork leg steaks show that the fat content is only five per cent. If all visible fat is removed, the fat content drops to just one per cent.
Food plays an important role in new year celebrations. So I have developed some Asian-inspired dishes to celebrate the Year of the Pig.
Ginger pork ribs
1kg pork spareribs
1/2 cup smooth marmalade or apricot jam
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon finely grated root ginger
- Cut the ribs to a suitable size. Combine the remaining ingredients and heat for 1-2 minutes. Brush over the ribs and stand in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Place the ribs on a rack over a roasting pan containing a little water. Cook for 45 minutes or until tender, basting occasionally. Serve hot or cold. Serves 4.