Asian Style Sticky Pork Spare Ribs

I love sticky style ribs. The sweet caramelised pork taste so GOOD. I find the pork ribs here seems to have so much more meat than ribs from my hometown (Indonesia). That is the only kind of pork ribs I can get at Queen Victoria market but it still taste yummy though.

This recipe is from a book by Pete Evans ‘My Kitchen’. It is a very simple recipe, I promise. What you need to do is only make the marinade, and combine with the ribs and marinate the pork overnight. Then roast them. That’s it.

serves 4

12 garlic cloves, minced
2 long red chillies, finely chopped
250 ml (1 cup) kecap manis
250 ml (1 cup) light soy sauce
185g (1 cup) soft brown sugar
80 (1/3 cup) ml fish sauce
125 ml  (1/2 cup) chicken stock
8 star anise

1-2 kg pork ribs
sesame seeds, toasted, to serve


To make the marinade, combine the garlic, chilli, kecap manis, soy sauce, sugar, fish sauce, stock and star anise in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Set aside and allow to cool.

Once the marinade has cooled, add the ribs to the pan, turning to coat them in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or, for greater results, marinate them overnight if time permits.

Preheat the oven to 190 degree C (375 degree F/Gas 5). Place the ribs and any marinade in a baking dish, cover with foil or a lid and roast for 30 minutes (I actually roast them longer, for an extra 15-20 minutes to make the meat more tender).

Remove the foil. Depending on how much marinade is left in the baking dish, as for mine, there is a lot of marinade left, I transferred all the ribs to another baking tray with a rack. I lay the ribs on the rack and baste with the marinade (This is to avoid the excess marinade from over-baked, sticking to the tray and cause a problem when cleaning the tray). Cook for a further 15-30 minutes or until caramelised and lightly charred.

If you have sesame seeds, sprinkle them to the sticky ribs and serve them with jasmine rice and steamed Asian vegetables.

Side notes:
– I reduced the kecap manis to 200 ml and 170 g for soft brown sugar. I find the marinade is quite sweet when I first made them so I tried reducing the sugar content of the marinade. It tasted just right.

– As I only used about 1.5 kg of pork ribs, I had quite a bit of marinade left. If when you are making this and have lots of marinade left as well, sieve the large bits away (chillies and star anise). Simmer them, to remove the water content, leaving a sticky syrup which would be really great to use as a sauce. If you are too lazy like me or has no time, just use the marinade as the sauce. Do not throw them away. They taste too good to be thrown away.

-Be careful when putting the pork back to the oven the second time, if you have a very hot oven like mine, the pork tend to get caramelised really quickly. So keep an eye on it, you don’t want the pork to get burnt after all the hard work.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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