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Chinese Spare Ribs recipe

Chinese Spare Ribs recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Pork

Delicious, lip-smackingly good Chinese spare ribs. Serve these tasty ribs as a main course or finger food.

51 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 120ml hoisin sauce
  • 60ml cranberry sauce
  • 3 tablespoons reduced salt soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food colouring (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1.75kg pork spareribs, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 475ml water

MethodPrep:1hr20min ›Cook:1hr ›Ready in:2hr20min

  1. In a large bowl, blend hoisin sauce, cranberry sauce, soy sauce, white wine, honey and red food colouring. Mix in garlic salt and Chinese five-spice powder. Place ribs in the mixture. Cover, and marinate in the fridge at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
  3. Place water in the bottom of a large roasting tin. Arrange ribs on wire oven rack, and cook 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Cover with remaining sauce mixture, and continue cooking 30 minutes, to an internal temperature of 70 degrees C.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(39)

Reviews in English (31)

by Lynn

It was delicious! I left out the food coloring, but other than that, I followed the directions exactly. Will try it on company now.-03 Aug 2002


Excellent taste. First time I have made ribs and these came out excellent! I followed the recipe down to the letter including using the red food coloring.I like salty so when I make it next time I will put a little more soy sauce. Also I will puncture the ribs with a fork before marinating them to absorb more flavor. I will let them marinade at least 3 hours. This is important because as the ribs cook, the sauce drips down into the pan of water so it is wise to saturate the ribs and maybe basting every 15 minutes may not be a bad idea. But I dont want to be bothered, so I think the steps above will improve the recipe to give more flavor on the inside.These ribs where fall of the bone and succulent but I like mine a little crispier and burnt a little which is why I advise after the hour in the oven is done I would turn up the heat in the oven and let 'em roast an extra 5-10 minutes to make the outsides more crispy.Must also say that the leftovers taste even better than the fresh batch.The leftovers that sat overnight in the fridge had even more flavor the next afternoon when I microwaved them.I made them with the chinese chicken fried rice recipe from this and got many compliments.A+++++-06 Apr 2005

by TERRI73064

I just made these ribs and everyone went wild! What a fantastic recipe. I didn't cook them on a broiler pan with the water. I put them single layer on a cookie sheet and baked them at 350 degrees on convection roast. I changed the foil on the cookie sheet and then basted them with some fresh marinade I made. Put them back in on convection roast for another 5 minutes and basted them one more time. I also sprinkled some sesame seeds on top. Finger licking good!! This recipe is a keeper. I also served it with the Vegetable Lo Mein recipe I got off of this Great dinner!!!! Thanks!!!-02 May 2004

Chinese Spareribs Recipe

Note: You can add a few drops of red food coloring to the marinade if you want a deeper red hue on your ribs. Baby back ribs will work just as well as St. Louis-cut. You can cook ribs the same day they are marinated, but for best results, allow to marinade at least overnight and up to three days.

Chinese five spice powder can be found in the spice section of most major supermarkets. If unavailable, you can make your own by combining 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon, 2 teaspoons powdered fennel, 1 teaspoon powdered star anise, 1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon powdered Sichuan peppercorns (you can substitute ginger for Sichuan peppercorns for a different style of five spice).

Easy Chinese steamed pork spare ribs with garlic and chilli

When I was growing up in California, in the United States, my mother cooked dinner for me and my brothers almost every night. Sometimes she made what I call “PTA moms’ food” – child-pleasing recipes that the mothers would share with each other – but more often, she cooked delicious and easy home-style Chinese dishes, such as this one.

Have the butcher cut the pork spare ribs into pieces it's very difficult to do it yourself.

Rinse the pork ribs and drain them well. Put them in a bowl and add the soy sauce, rice wine, salt, sugar, cornstarch and oil, then mix thoroughly. Leave at room temperature while preparing the other ingredients.

Mince the garlic. Slice the banana chilli on the diagonal into 3mm (⅛in) pieces. Cut the bird’s-eye chilli in half lengthwise and scrape out and discard the seeds. Slice the chillies into 3mm (⅛in) pieces. Mix the garlic and both types of chillies with the pork. Spread the ingredients in a shallow heat-proof serving dish.

Place a metal rack with low feet in the bottom of a wok and add water to the depth of about 4cm (1½in). Heat over a high flame until the water boils. Place the dish of pork on the rack, cover with the lid and steam over a medium-high flame for 20 to 30 minutes.

While the pork is cooking, mince the spring onions. When the pork is fully cooked, sprinkle the spring onions on top and serve with steamed white rice.

What Can I Substitute For Chinese 5 Spice?

Chinese 5 spice powder/seasoning is a pretty crucial ingredient in the flavor of these pork spare ribs so omitting it isn&rsquot really an option.

If you don&rsquot have a Chinese 5 spice powder on hand though you probably have all the components that go in it individually: cinnamon, fennel, cloves, star anise, white pepper.

Regular pepper is fine to substitute for white pepper (I admittedly don&rsquot even keep white pepper on hand).

Easy Chinese Spare Ribs Recipe

Ready to get serious about spare ribs? This Chinese-American style favorite will have you wishing they were ready before you finish. You may want to have a snack during prep time.

Below I cover some personal stuff and a few additional tips for this recipe. You can simply skip this and scroll down to the actual recipe which is printable if you like.

It’s been nearly two years since we performed our survey of the Chinese takeout landscape in Maine, and sadly, the picture hasn’t improved. With a few exceptions (we’re hearing good things about Zen Chinese Bistro, for example), each bag of Chinese takeout seems to be more depressing than the last. For every new “authentic taqueria” that opens to much fanfare, the takeout Chinese places continue along in their horrifyingly cynical way, slopping gluey Lo Mein into a bag to sell for $18 while a barefoot 8-year-old girl somewhere just out of sight screams incoherently in Chinese.

During the first week of last year, we ran a brief series entitled “Chinese New Year,” detailing our efforts to learn how to cook Americanized, Western-style Chinese food right in our own kitchens. During our experiments with Fried Wontons and Steamed Pork Dumplings, we learned that even home cooks like ourselves with absolutely no root or training in traditional Chinese cooking can turn out results far, far more appetizing than the local takeout joint.

We wanted to start off the first week of the year with a bit of a “round two” of this series, adding a few more Chinese takeout classics to our arsenal. We’re starting with Chinese-Style Spare Ribs, primarily because it’s our fallback when dealing with an unfamiliar Chinese restaurant menu. Even when they’re bad, they’re pretty good: Crunchy in some parts, chewy in others, and shellacked with a bright fire engine red, sticky sauce.

Unlike many of our bastardized Chinese-American favorites (I’m looking at you, General Tso), Chinese-style spare ribs can at least somewhat trace their lineage back to actual Cantonese cooking, where char siu is cooked hanging from the roof of a wood-burning oven. We’ve read plenty of stories about cooks using drapery hooks to hang the meat from the racks of their home kitchen ovens, but such elaborate preparation really isn’t necessary you can achieve similar results simply by roasting your ribs in a pan, then cranking the heat at the end to get some crispy caramelization on the honey-basted marinade at the very end.

A final note or two about that sauce: For maximum Chinese takeout style, you can add a few drops of red food coloring to the marinade, which you should allow your ribs to soak in at least overnight, or even up to a couple of days. Most ready-made hoisin sauce already contains some red coloring, though, so you may find you like the natural color just fine. We didn’t add any, for the photographs on this recipe. Also, this recipe gets a lot of its flavor from a dry rub of Chinese five-spice powder. If you can’t stomach the idea of spending $8 on a tiny jar of spices that you will probably only use once, you can make your own by combining 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons fennel, 1 teaspoon star anise, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, and grinding them together in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.


Separate the pork into ribs. Cook in boiling water for 15 minutes, then drain and dry on kitchen paper. Heat oil in frying pan. Add ribs and stir in hoisin and soy sauces. Cook gently for 20 minutes.

Prepare Sauce: Shred ginger, deseed pepper and cut into thin strips. Peel and crush garlic.

Heat oil in a saucepan, add garlic, ginger and pepper and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce, sherry, tomato puree, vinegar and sugar. Blend cornflour with fruit juice and water and add to the pan bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Place ribs in a warmed serving dish pour sauce over and serve immediately with boiled rice.

What Makes These Ribs Taste Like Char Siu?

For those of you who haven’t tried our char siu recipe, or who aren’t familiar with char siu at all, char siu is a type of Chinese BBQ pork, part of a pantheon of Cantonese roast meats that also includes things like Siu Yuk, or crispy roast pork belly.

The marinade for these oven baked ribs is almost exactly the same as the marinade for our char siu recipe.

The cooking process is also very similar. For char siu, which is made with boneless pork shoulder, the meat is roasted in the oven for 50 minutes. Because the ribs are on the bone, they take slightly longer to cook––1 hour.

But the resulting flavor is the same, that delicious sweet, salty, flavor in a juicy, tender rib that (in my opinion) tastes orders of magnitude better than any BBQ sauce.

Recipe Summary

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek or other spicy chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar
  • 4 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 rack pork spare ribs, cut into thirds lengthwise
  • Coarse salt
  • Napa Cabbage Slaw

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a food processor, pulse ketchup, hoisin, sambal oelek, vinegar, scallions, and ginger until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Season ribs with salt and coat both sides with sauce. Roast, bone side down, until ribs are tender but not falling off the bone, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Cut into single ribs and serve with slaw.

Sticky Chinese Pork Spare Ribs


  • ▢ 2 kg / 4 lbs meaty pork ribs , cut into single rib pieces
  • ▢ 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ▢ 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ▢ 2 tbsp shao xing wine
  • ▢ 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • ▢ 4 tbsp brown sugar or honey
  • ▢ 4 tbsp tomato sauce or ketchup
  • ▢ 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • ▢ 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • ▢ 2 tbsp sambal oelek
  • ▢ 6 cloves garlic , finely chopped
  • ▢ 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • ▢ 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • ▢ 1 tsp salt
  • ▢ Sesame seeds , coriander, shallots and red chilli to garnish (optional)


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Recipe Instructions

1. Slice & Marinate the Pork

If your pork is not already frozen, freeze until firm (but not rock solid, about 45 minutes) for easier slicing. Cut the pork into ¾-inch (2 cm) thick slabs.

The size of the pieces depends on the cuts of pork you’re using. Mine were about 4࡮ inches (10吐 cm).

In a large mixing bowl (large enough to hold the pork pieces), combine the garlic, sugar, salt, five spice powder, white pepper, Shaoxing wine, hoisin sauce, ground bean sauce, tomato ketchup, pineapple juice, sesame oil, and red food coloring (if using).

Mix until smooth and well-combined.

Toss until well coated in the marinade.

Cover with plastic wrap or a large sheet pan, transfer to the refrigerator, and marinate overnight (12-24 hours). For maximum flavor penetration and distribution, you can stir the pork a few times during the marinating period, but this step isn’t strictly necessary.

2. Roast the Pork

Once the marinating period is over, let the pork come up to room temperature on the counter for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. (Use an oven thermometer to ensure an accurate temperature.)

Line a sheet pan or roasting pan with heavy duty foil (for quick clean-up) and place a metal rack on top.

Place the boneless pork on the metal rack, ideally with 1/2-inch of room between the pieces. Pour ½ cup of hot water on the bottom of the pan, and transfer to the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, flip the pork. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes. If the pan is dry, add an additional ½ cup of hot water.

Mix the maltose or honey with 2 teaspoons of hot water, and generously brush the pork on both sides.

If desired, you can roast the pork under the broiler for a few minutes. Cook until the pork is lightly charred and caramelized, but watch closely so they don’t burn!

After broiling, brush them once more with the maltose (or honey). Rest at room temperature for at least 5-10 minutes before cutting.

3. Slice and Serve!

To serve, thinly slice the pork into lengths.

Serve alongside your fried rice of choice!

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