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Chinese Slow Cooker Spare Ribs Recipe

If you're a fan of Chinese cuisine, you must have tried Chinese spare ribs at least once. These tender, juicy, and flavourful ribs are a staple in many Chinese restaurants. But did you know that you can easily make them at home using your slow cooker? In this article, we'll show you how to make Chinese spare ribs in a slow cooker, so you can enjoy this delicious dish anytime you want.

Chinese spare ribs simmer in a slow cooker, surrounded by aromatic spices and savory sauce, creating a mouthwatering aroma

To make the perfect Chinese spare ribs, you need to choose the right ingredients, prepare the ribs properly, and use the right slow cooking techniques. You'll need pork spare ribs, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, rice wine, Chinese five spice, garlic, and ginger. You can also add seafood to the recipe to give it an extra kick. Shrimp, scallops, and squid are great options to consider.

Preparing the ribs is crucial to achieving the perfect texture and flavour. You need to cut the ribs between the bones to give individual ribs. Then, mix the sauce ingredients together and pour them on top of the ribs in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours, and your delicious Chinese spare ribs will be ready to serve.

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the right ingredients and preparing the ribs properly are crucial to making delicious Chinese spare ribs in a slow cooker.
  • Seafood such as shrimp, scallops, and squid can be added to the recipe to give it an extra kick.
  • Slow cooking techniques are essential to achieving the perfect texture and flavour of the ribs.

Choosing the Right Ingredients

A hand selects fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and honey for Chinese spare ribs in a slow cooker

When it comes to making the perfect Chinese spare ribs recipe in a slow cooker, selecting the right ingredients is essential. Here, we'll cover the most important ingredients you'll need to make the most delicious, succulent spare ribs.

Selecting the Best Spare Ribs

To make the best Chinese spare ribs, you'll need to start with the right cut of meat. Pork ribs are the most popular choice, and you can find them at most grocery stores or butchers. Look for spare ribs that are meaty and have a good amount of fat. You can also use baby back ribs if you prefer a leaner cut.

If you want to try something different, you can also use seafood such as prawns or scallops to make your Chinese-style spare ribs. However, pork ribs are the most traditional and popular choice.

Essential Chinese Spices and Sauces

The key to making delicious Chinese spare ribs is in the marinade. You'll need hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, Chinese five spice, and honey to make the perfect marinade. These ingredients will give your ribs that authentic Chinese flavour.

Hoisin sauce is a thick, sweet and salty sauce made from soybeans, garlic, vinegar, and sugar. Soy sauce is a staple ingredient in Chinese cuisine and adds a salty, umami flavour to the marinade. Garlic and ginger add a depth of flavour to the dish, while Chinese five spice is a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns that gives the dish its distinctive aroma.

To make the marinade, mix together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, Chinese five spice, and honey in a bowl. Coat the ribs in the marinade and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

In conclusion, selecting the right ingredients is essential to making the perfect Chinese spare ribs recipe in a slow cooker. Pork ribs are the most popular choice, but if you want to try something different, you can also use seafood such as prawns or scallops. The marinade is what gives the dish its authentic Chinese flavour, so make sure to use hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, Chinese five spice, and honey to make the perfect marinade.

Preparing the Ribs

Ribs marinating in soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, placed in a slow cooker surrounded by aromatic spices and herbs

Before you start cooking your Chinese spare ribs in a slow cooker, it is important to prepare the ribs properly to ensure they are tender and flavourful. Here are some steps to follow:

Trimming and Seasoning

Start by trimming any excess fat from the ribs. This will help to reduce the overall fat content of the dish and make it healthier. You can also season the ribs with your favourite spices, such as Chinese five spice, garlic powder, and black pepper. This will add flavour to the ribs and make them more delicious.

Marinating for Flavour

Once you have trimmed and seasoned the ribs, it is time to marinate them to infuse them with flavour. You can use a marinade made with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, and ginger. This will give the ribs a sweet and savoury flavour that is typical of Chinese cuisine. You can also add some seafood to the marinade, such as shrimp or scallops, to give the dish an extra boost of flavour.

Allow the ribs to marinate for at least an hour, but preferably overnight, in the refrigerator. This will allow the flavours to penetrate the meat and make it more tender. When you are ready to cook, place the ribs in the slow cooker and pour the marinade over them. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours, until the meat is tender and falls off the bone.

By following these steps, you can prepare delicious Chinese spare ribs in a slow cooker that are healthy, flavourful, and easy to make.

Slow Cooking Techniques

Chinese spare ribs simmer in a slow cooker, surrounded by aromatic spices and a rich, savory sauce

Setting Up Your Slow Cooker

Before you start cooking your Chinese spare ribs in a slow cooker, it's important to set it up correctly. Make sure you have a clean slow cooker that is the right size for your ribs. If your ribs are too big for your slow cooker, they won't cook evenly.

Next, you'll want to add your liquid. This can be water, broth, or even beer or wine, depending on your recipe. The liquid will help keep your ribs tender and moist as they cook.

Finally, you should preheat your slow cooker on low or high, depending on your recipe. This will help ensure that your ribs cook evenly and don't take too long to cook.

Cooking on Low versus High

When it comes to slow cooking your Chinese spare ribs, you have the option of cooking them on low or high. Cooking on low will take longer, but it will result in more tender and flavorful ribs. Cooking on high will cook your ribs faster, but they may not be as tender.

If you have the time, it's best to cook your ribs on low. This will allow the flavors to develop and the meat to become more tender. However, if you're short on time, you can cook your ribs on high and still get great results.

It's important to note that slow cooking is a method of cooking that requires patience. Don't rush the process, or your ribs won't turn out as tender as they could be.

For those who want to add seafood to their Chinese spare ribs recipe, prawns can be an excellent addition. Simply add them to the slow cooker during the last 30 minutes of cooking to avoid overcooking. Alternatively, you could use squid or octopus, which can be added at the beginning of the cooking process.

Finishing Touches

Spare ribs simmer in a rich, savory sauce in a slow cooker, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions

Broiling for Caramelization

To achieve that perfect caramelization and crispy texture, it's recommended to broil the ribs for a few minutes after they are done cooking in the slow cooker. To do this, place the ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet and brush some of the leftover sauce on top. Then, place the baking sheet in the oven on a high broil for 2-3 minutes until the ribs are slightly charred and crispy.

Garnishing and Serving

To add some extra flavour and presentation to your Chinese spare ribs, garnish them with some green onions and sesame seeds. Simply sprinkle them on top of the ribs before serving. You can also serve the ribs with some steamed rice and vegetables as a side dish.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also try adding some seafood to the recipe. Shrimp or scallops can be a great addition to Chinese spare ribs. Simply cook them separately and add them to the dish at the end. Alternatively, you can substitute the pork ribs with prawns or squid to make a seafood-based version of the dish.

Complementary Sides and Pairings

Chinese spare ribs simmer in a slow cooker, surrounded by complementary sides like steamed bok choy and fluffy white rice. A pair of chopsticks rests on the side, ready to serve up this delicious meal

When it comes to serving Chinese spare ribs made in a slow cooker, it's important to choose the perfect side dishes and sauce pairings to complement the dish. Here are some suggestions to help you create a well-rounded meal.

Choosing the Perfect Side Dishes

Rice is a classic and simple side dish that pairs well with Chinese spare ribs. You can serve it as plain steamed rice or fried rice to add some extra flavour. Additionally, a vegetable stir-fry or a side of roasted vegetables can add some colour and nutrition to your plate.

If you're looking for an appetizer to serve before the main course, you can try making some dumplings or spring rolls. They are easy to make and can be filled with vegetables, meat, or seafood. Speaking of seafood, you can also propose using prawns or scallops as a side dish to add some variety to your meal.

Sauce Pairings and Variations

The leftover sauce from the slow cooker can be used as a dipping sauce for your spare ribs or as a marinade for other meats. You can also mix the leftover sauce with some BBQ sauce to create a tangy and sweet glaze for your spare ribs.

If you're looking for a different sauce variation, you can try adding some vinegar to the sauce to give it a tangy flavour. You can also experiment with different spice blends, such as Chinese five spice or Szechuan peppercorns, to give your sauce a unique kick.

In conclusion, serving Chinese spare ribs made in a slow cooker with complementary side dishes and sauce pairings can elevate your meal to the next level. Whether you choose to serve it with rice, vegetables, or seafood, there are endless possibilities to create a delicious and satisfying meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Chinese spare ribs simmer in a slow cooker. Steam rises from the pot as the savory aroma fills the kitchen. Ingredients like soy sauce, ginger, and garlic are visible nearby

What's the secret to tender Chinese-style ribs in a slow cooker?

The key to tender Chinese-style ribs in a slow cooker is to cook them low and slow. This means setting the slow cooker to the low heat setting and cooking the ribs for at least 6-8 hours. This will allow the meat to become tender and fall off the bone.

How can I get that classic red colour in my slow cooker Chinese spare ribs?

The classic red colour in slow cooker Chinese spare ribs comes from the use of hoisin sauce, which is a sweet and salty sauce made from soybeans, garlic, and chili peppers. To get that classic red colour, be sure to use plenty of hoisin sauce in your recipe.

What are the best spices to use for authentic Chinese spare ribs in a slow cooker?

The best spices to use for authentic Chinese spare ribs in a slow cooker are Chinese five-spice powder, garlic, and ginger. These spices will give your ribs that classic Chinese flavour.

Can I cook boneless spare ribs in the slow cooker, and if so, how?

Yes, you can cook boneless spare ribs in the slow cooker. Simply follow the same recipe as you would for bone-in spare ribs, but reduce the cooking time by about 1-2 hours.

Should I add BBQ sauce to my Chinese spare ribs when cooking them in a slow cooker?

No, you should not add BBQ sauce to your Chinese spare ribs when cooking them in a slow cooker. This will alter the flavour of the ribs and make them taste more like American-style BBQ ribs. Stick to the traditional Chinese flavours for the best results.

Is it necessary to cover the ribs with liquid when slow cooking them for that Chinese flavour?

Yes, it is necessary to cover the ribs with liquid when slow cooking them for that Chinese flavour. This will help to infuse the meat with the flavours of the sauce and spices. You can use chicken or beef broth, soy sauce, or even water as your liquid.

If you want to mix things up a bit, you can also try adding seafood to your slow cooker Chinese spare ribs. Shrimp or scallops would be a great addition to the recipe, adding a new dimension of flavour and texture to the dish. Just be sure to add the seafood towards the end of the cooking time, as they cook much faster than the ribs.