I grew up with these and made them recently for a local chowhound gathering. The reception was positive enough that I figured I'd pass the recipe along. it doesn't get much easier and the results are soooo delicious -- sticky, savoury and sweet. Best eaten with steamed rice and some stir fried Chinese greens of your choice.
The original recipe from some tattered old Chinese cookbook called for marinating, then deep frying the ribs. My mom adapted the recipe to be faster and less messy at the stove.
Chengdu Braised Ribs
3 lbs of baby back pork ribs that the butcher has cut vertically across in 2 or 3 pieces (against the bone).
Rinse the ribs well under cold water to ensure the bits of bone are washed away. Dry well, and then separate/cut each rib between the bones. Brown the ribs in small batches and drain the fat from the pot. Throw all the ribs back into the pot with the following:
1/2 to 2/3C rock sugar (depending on how sweet you prefer)
2/3C soy sauce
Bring to a boil then cover and cook for 45 mins to 1 hour, giving the ribs a stir every 15 mins or so. Remove cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until liquid is reduced to a glaze.
Notes: You can stop the recipe after the initial 1 hour braise and chill it overnight to let the flavors develop and also let the fat congeal. I usually remove a cup of fat from the top, before reheating and doing the reduction.