Spareribs and Dried Tofu Stick Soup
(Fu Zhu Pai Gu Tang)
In China, mildly flavored soups like this one are served in small bowls to be sipped along with meals in lieu of tea or water.
1 lb. pork spareribs cut into 1 1⁄2"–2" pieces
1 dried chile, such as árbol
2 tsp. salt
1 whole dried tofu stick, rinsed
4 Chinese chives or scallions, trimmed, thinly sliced
on the diagonal
1. Put ribs and 8 cups water into a large pot; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, skimming off and discarding any foam that rises to surface. Add chile, and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, skimming occasionally, until ribs are tender, about 2 1⁄2 hours.
2. Add tofu stick, broken into 2" pieces, and simmer, covered, until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in chives or scallions, and season with salt to taste.