Chinese Spare Ribs

Chinese Spare Ribs

Spare ribs are one of my favourite dishes to order from the Chinese take away – make your own at home this Chinese New Year with the recipe below.

Cooking for a crowd.

It may have been knackering but I loved cooking for my family when they came to visit this weekend.

Now that Jon and I are settled in London and my sister and her partner have bought their first house in Nottingham, we’re finally in a place where we can host each other and our parents on a weekend. You might remember that I cooked a Bourbon Glazed Ham at Thanksgiving and my sister did the full Christmas dinner back in December. As Chinese New Year started on Thursday, I thought it was a fab excuse to cook up a Chinese feast!

I’d mastered spring rolls a little while ago and my tried and tested sweet and sour chicken is a recipe I first cooked in a food technology lesson about 10 years ago! What I was most excited to cook though were these Chinese Spare Ribs. I first cooked them during a cookery class at School of Wok. I’ve since tweaked the recipe so that it’s a little bit closer to the take-away style ribs my family are familiar with.

Ribs marinating in the tasty Chinese BBQ sauce

Fusion food!

I do find it intriguing how foreign cuisines get anglicised. Whilst I’m sure authentic Chinese ribs taste delicious, sometimes you just can’t beat the flavours of a greasy Chinese take-away from the shop at the end of the road. At least now you don’t have to pay someone else for the pleasure of making them and you can cook them from scratch at home! I just hope you have 6 hours to spare…

Perhaps they are called spare ribs because of all the spare time you need to make them?

The best thing abut these Chinese take-away style Spare Ribs is that they just fall off of the bone. The meat is so tender and juicy, and the sauce is sticky and sweet. That’s it…I’m going to say it…they’re finger lickin’ good!!!

The Recipe

Chinese Spare Ribs

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 10 spare ribs

Serving Size: 5 portions


  • 10 pork ribs
  • 1 inch cubed root ginger (cut into matchsticks)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic (sliced thinly)
  • 8 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
  • 8 tablespoons of hoisin suace
  • 4 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 330ml apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons of cornflour
  • Spring onion and sesame seeds to garnish


  1. The day before you make the ribs, mix together all of the ingredients.
  2. Lay the ribs out in a deep oven dish and cover with the sauce.
  3. Cover the dish with cling film and leave in the fridge to marinade overnight.
  4. If you're not able to prep so far ahead try to give them an hour to marinade if you can.
  5. On the day, preheat the oven to 150C.
  6. Place the ribs in the centre of your oven and cook for 6 hours.
  7. On each hour, baste the ribs liberally.
  8. Turn the ribs at each 2 hours interval to ensure they get crisp and caramelised on each side.
  9. Serve straight from the oven with a liberal dousing in the sweet, sticky sauce! Sprinkle with sesame seeds and spring onions to garnish.
  10. I like to serve the sauce in a jug on the side so that it can be poured, drizzled and licked off of the plate at the end. Enjoy.


You will need to leave the ribs to marinate overnight so do factor this in to the preparation time!

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Although the slow cooked pork ribs were the star of the meal for me, I also served up prawn toasts, seaweed, sweet and spicy pork belly, sweet and sour chicken, vegetables in black bean sauce, egg fried rice, vegetarian chow mein and, last but not least, mixed vegetables in oyster sauce. The greens in oyster sauce was a close second favourite so I’m sure that recipe will also appear on the blog before long.

Do you do anything to celebrate to Chinese New Year? I had really hoped to make it into Central London for the parade on Sunday but getting six adults up, washed and dressed in time was a bit of a challenge…I certainly couldn’t manage if they were all kids haha! How do you mums do it?!

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