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Cooking Chinese-Style Spare Ribs: A Guide to Delicious Recipes

If you enjoy Chinese food, then you're probably a fan of Chinese-style spare ribs. Known for their delectable blend of sweet and savoury flavours, these ribs are commonly enjoyed with a side of steamed rice and vegetables. However, perfecting the art of cooking Chinese-style spare ribs can be a bit tricky, especially if you're new to the key ingredients and cooking methods.

Sizzling spare ribs in a wok with Chinese spices and sauces. Garnished with green onions and sesame seeds

One of the key ingredients in Chinese-style spare ribs is five-spice powder, a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns. This spice mix gives the ribs a unique and aromatic flavour that is characteristic of Chinese cuisine. Other essential ingredients include hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and rice wine, which all contribute to the sweet and savoury flavour of the dish.

To create the perfect Chinese-style spare ribs, it's important to marinate the ribs overnight to allow the flavours to develop. The ribs can be cooked using a variety of methods, including grilling, baking, or slow-cooking. Once cooked, the ribs can be glazed with a sweet and sticky sauce made from honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, and other seasonings. To serve, garnish the ribs with sesame seeds, chopped spring onions, and fresh coriander for a beautiful and flavourful presentation.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese-style spare ribs are a popular and delicious dish characterised by their sweet and savoury flavour.
  • Essential ingredients for Chinese-style spare ribs include five-spice powder, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and rice wine.
  • To create the perfect Chinese-style spare ribs, marinate the ribs overnight, cook using a preferred method, and glaze with a sweet and sticky sauce.

Essential Ingredients for Chinese-Style Spare Ribs

A table with a spread of essential ingredients for Chinese-style spare ribs: spare ribs, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger, honey, and green onions

If you're looking to make delicious Chinese-style spare ribs, there are a few essential ingredients that you'll need to have on hand. Here are some of the key ingredients that you'll need to create an authentic and flavourful Chinese-style spare ribs dish.

Selecting the Best Ribs

The first step in creating the perfect Chinese-style spare ribs is to choose the right type of ribs. You'll want to select meaty ribs that are well-marbled and have a good balance of meat and fat. St. Louis-style spareribs are a popular choice for Chinese-style spare ribs, as they are meaty and tender.

Key Chinese Condiments

To create a truly authentic Chinese-style spare ribs dish, you'll need to use a variety of key Chinese condiments. Some of the most important condiments to include in your recipe include:

  • Hoisin sauce: This thick, sweet sauce is made from soybeans, garlic, sugar, and vinegar. It has a rich, complex flavour that pairs well with spare ribs.

  • Soy sauce: Soy sauce is a staple in Chinese cuisine and adds a salty, umami flavour to your spare ribs.

  • Five spice powder: This blend of spices includes cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns. It adds a warm, aromatic flavour to your spare ribs.

  • Ginger: Fresh ginger adds a spicy, fragrant flavour to your spare ribs.

  • Garlic: Garlic adds a pungent, savoury flavour to your spare ribs.

  • Sesame oil: This fragrant oil adds a nutty, toasty flavour to your spare ribs.

  • Shaoxing wine: This Chinese rice wine adds a subtle sweetness to your spare ribs.

  • Oyster sauce: Made from oysters, soy sauce, sugar, and salt, oyster sauce adds a rich, savoury flavour to your spare ribs.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also try adding seafood to your Chinese-style spare ribs. Shrimp, scallops, and crab all pair well with spare ribs and can add a delicious seafood twist to your dish. Just be sure to cook your seafood thoroughly to avoid any food safety issues.

Preparation Techniques

Spare ribs marinating in soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Chopped scallions and sesame seeds sprinkled on top. Bowls of hoisin and chili sauce on the side

Preparing Chinese spare ribs requires a few essential techniques that help to bring out the best flavours in the dish. In this section, we will cover the two most important techniques: marinating the ribs and wrapping with foil.

Marinating the Ribs

Marinating the ribs is an essential step in preparing Chinese spare ribs. It helps to tenderise the meat and infuse it with flavour. To marinate the ribs, you will need a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, cooking oil, garlic cloves, and water. You can also add other ingredients such as ginger, star anise, and Chinese five-spice powder to enhance the flavour.

To marinate the ribs, place them in a large bowl or a ziplock bag and pour the marinade over them. Make sure the ribs are fully coated with the marinade. You can then refrigerate the ribs for a few hours or overnight to allow the flavours to develop.

Wrapping with Foil

Wrapping the ribs with foil is another important technique that helps to keep the meat moist and tender. To wrap the ribs, you will need aluminium foil and a baking tray.

First, preheat your oven to 150°C. Then, remove the ribs from the marinade and place them on a sheet of aluminium foil. Wrap the foil tightly around the ribs, making sure there are no gaps. Place the wrapped ribs on a baking tray and bake them in the oven for 1-2 hours, depending on the size of the ribs.

If you want to add some seafood to the recipe, you can try using prawns or scallops. Simply marinate them with the same mixture as the ribs and bake them in a separate foil packet. The seafood will add a delicious flavour and texture to the dish.

Cooking Methods

Spare ribs sizzling in a wok with soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Steam rises as they are stir-fried over high heat. Garnished with green onions and sesame seeds

When it comes to preparing Chinese-style spare ribs, there are a few different cooking methods you can use. In this section, we'll cover the two most popular methods: oven-roasting and alternative cooking options.

Oven-Roasting the Ribs

Oven-roasting is a simple and effective way to cook spare ribs. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Place the ribs on a wire rack resting on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour 1 cup of water into the pan, and transfer to the oven. Roast for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the ribs from the oven and baste with your desired marinade. Return the ribs to the oven and roast for another 15-20 minutes, or until they are fully cooked and tender. You can also use the broiler setting to give your ribs a bit of extra char and crispiness.

Alternative Cooking Options

If you don't have an oven or prefer not to use it, there are a few alternative cooking options you can try. One popular method is to steam the ribs. Simply place the ribs in a steamer basket or on a plate and steam for 30-45 minutes, or until fully cooked.

Another option is to braise the ribs. Brown the ribs in a pan on the stove, then transfer them to a roasting pan or Dutch oven. Add your desired braising liquid (such as soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chicken stock) and cook in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius) for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender.

Finally, you can also grill the ribs. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and grill the ribs for 8-10 minutes per side, or until fully cooked. You can also add some seafood to your grilling recipe, such as shrimp or scallops, to give your dish some extra flavour and texture.

Overall, there are many ways to cook Chinese-style spare ribs, so feel free to experiment and find the method that works best for you.

Creating the Perfect Glaze

A chef brushes a sticky, sweet glaze onto perfectly grilled spare ribs, adding a final touch of sesame seeds for a Chinese-style finish

When it comes to Chinese-style spare ribs, a good glaze can make all the difference. The right combination of sauces and spices can turn a simple rack of ribs into a flavourful and succulent dish that will leave your guests begging for more. Here are some tips on how to create the perfect glaze for your Chinese-style spare ribs.

Combining Sauces and Spices

A good glaze for Chinese-style spare ribs should have a balance of sweet, sour, and savoury flavours. One of the most popular ingredients for the glaze is honey, which gives the ribs a sweet and sticky texture. Soy sauce is another essential ingredient that adds a salty and savoury flavour to the glaze. You can also add ketchup, sesame oil, and lemon juice to the glaze for an extra kick of flavour.

To create the perfect balance of flavours, it's important to experiment with different combinations of sauces and spices. You can try adding Chinese five-spice powder, garlic powder, onion powder, or ginger to the glaze to give it a unique and flavourful taste. Don't be afraid to get creative with your glaze and try out different combinations until you find the perfect balance of flavours.

Applying the Glaze to Ribs

Once you have created the perfect glaze for your Chinese-style spare ribs, it's time to apply it to the ribs. Basting the ribs with the glaze while they cook is the best way to ensure that the flavours are evenly distributed and the ribs are fully coated with the glaze. You can use a basting brush to apply the glaze to the ribs every 10-15 minutes while they cook.

If you want to add an extra layer of flavour to your ribs, you can also brush them with your favourite barbecue sauce during the last 10 minutes of cooking. This will give the ribs a smoky and tangy flavour that complements the sweetness of the glaze.

As a suggestion, you can also add seafood to your Chinese-style spare ribs recipe. Shrimp or squid can be a great addition to the glaze, giving the dish a unique flavour and texture. Simply add the seafood to the glaze and baste it with the ribs as they cook. Make sure to use fresh and high-quality seafood for the best results.

With these tips, you'll be able to create the perfect glaze for your Chinese-style spare ribs. Whether you're cooking for a crowd or just for yourself, these ribs are sure to be a hit.

Serving and Presentation

A platter of Chinese-style spare ribs, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, is elegantly presented on a wooden serving tray

When it comes to serving and presenting your Chinese-style spare ribs, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a delicious and visually pleasing meal.

Accompaniments

One of the most popular accompaniments for Chinese-style spare ribs is white rice. The fluffy texture of the rice pairs perfectly with the sticky and flavourful ribs. You can also try serving your ribs with stir-fried bok choy or garlicky broccoli to add some green vegetables to your plate.

If you're looking for something a bit more exciting, consider adding some seafood to your meal. Shrimp or prawns are a great option to pair with your spare ribs. You can either stir-fry them with some garlic and sesame oil or serve them as a separate dish.

Garnishing

Garnishing your spare ribs is an important step to make your dish look more appetizing. One simple and classic way to garnish your ribs is by sprinkling some sesame seeds on top. This adds a nice crunch and nutty flavour to your dish.

Another popular garnish for Chinese-style spare ribs is scallions. Chop up some fresh scallions and sprinkle them on top of your ribs to add a pop of colour and freshness.

When it comes to serving your spare ribs, you can either serve them as a main course or as part of a larger Chinese food menu. Either way, make sure to present your ribs in a visually pleasing manner to make your meal more enjoyable.

Frequently Asked Questions

A sizzling wok filled with marinated spare ribs, surrounded by traditional Chinese ingredients like ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. A chef's knife and cutting board sit nearby, ready for preparation

How do you make Chinese-style spare ribs with that lush red sauce?

To make Chinese-style spare ribs with that lush red sauce, you will need to marinate the ribs in a mixture of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, and Chinese five-spice powder for at least 2 hours. Then, bake the ribs in the oven until they are cooked through and the sauce has caramelized. You can also add a splash of rice vinegar or sherry to the marinade for an extra tangy flavour.

What's the secret to those incredibly tasty Chinese spare ribs?

The secret to those incredibly tasty Chinese spare ribs is in the marinade. Chinese-style spare ribs are typically marinated for several hours before cooking to infuse them with flavour. The marinade usually includes a combination of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, and Chinese five-spice powder, among other ingredients. The longer you marinate the ribs, the more flavourful they will be.

Can you give me an easy peasy recipe for Chinese spare ribs?

Sure, here's a simple recipe for Chinese spare ribs that you can try:

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg pork spare ribs
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, and Chinese five-spice powder.
  3. Add the spare ribs to the bowl and toss to coat evenly with the marinade.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  5. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the ribs in a single layer.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the ribs are cooked through and the sauce has caramelized.
  7. Serve hot with steamed rice and your favourite vegetables.

What's the difference between your usual BBQ ribs and Chinese spare ribs, mate?

The main difference between your usual BBQ ribs and Chinese spare ribs is in the flavour profile and cooking method. BBQ ribs are typically seasoned with a dry rub and slow-cooked over low heat, while Chinese spare ribs are marinated in a sweet and savoury sauce and baked in the oven until they are caramelized. Chinese spare ribs also often have a more complex flavour profile due to the use of ingredients like hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and Chinese five-spice powder.

How do you whip up a batch of Chinese pork ribs in an air fryer?

To whip up a batch of Chinese pork ribs in an air fryer, you will need to first marinate the ribs in a mixture of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, and Chinese five-spice powder for at least 2 hours. Then, preheat the air fryer to 180°C and place the ribs in the basket. Cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the ribs are cooked through and the sauce has caramelized. You can also brush the ribs with additional sauce before serving.

Got any tips for making Chinese-style spare ribs with a kick of spice?

If you want to make Chinese-style spare ribs with a kick of spice, you can add some red pepper flakes or Sriracha sauce to the marinade. You can also use Szechuan peppercorns or chili oil for an extra spicy flavour. Another option is to serve the ribs with a spicy dipping sauce made with soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and chili paste. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even try adding some seafood to the marinade, such as shrimp paste or fish sauce, for a unique umami flavour.