Chinese Spare Ribs are one of the Chinese Restaurant Take Out favorites. Armed with a couple of ingredients from the Asian section of your local grocery store you won’t have to go to the restaurant for these anymore.
Chinese Spare Ribs is a classic Chinese take-out dish we all love to eat, but few people attempt to cook by themselves. It can seem a bit too intimidating for those without experience cooking Asian food.
The good news is besides using a few unfamiliar ingredients, Chinese Spare Ribs are just Chinese BBQ ribs. They’re as easy-to-make at home as any other rib dishes.
This straight-forward recipe teaches you how to make Chinese Spare Ribs, and give you the confidence you need to try out this delicious dish at home!
Getting the Right Ingredients
Like any other recipe, getting great results depends on using the best ingredients you can find. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more exotic ingredients in this dish to help you understand what they are and where you can buy them:
- Hoisin is an Asian sauce that is popular for marinating the meat in many pork and duck dishes. It contains mostly fermented soybean paste seasoned with chili peppers, garlic, honey, sesame oil, and five-spice powder (see below). You can find hoisin sauce at most grocery stores in the Asian or imported section. People who do not eat soy or gluten products can buy no-soy and gluten-free hoisin sauces but may need to order online.
- Toasted Sesame Oil comes from sesame seeds and has a distinctively nutty taste. There are several different types of sesame oil available, so make sure that you use toasted sesame oil for this recipe. Toasted sesame oil has a low smoke point, meaning that it will begin to burn at a much lower temperature than other oils. Don’t use toasted sesame oil for frying to avoid excessive smoke and a possible fire. Toasted sesame oil is widely available.
- Mirin is a sweet rice wine from Japan people use mainly for cooking. In this recipe, mirin replaces the traditional Chinese Shaoxing rice wine that can be very difficult to find in the US. Outside of areas with large Asian populations, even mirin may be hard to buy. In this case, dry sherry is an acceptable substitution. Avoid using any product with “aji-mirin” on the label. This is a mirin-flavored seasoning only.
- Five Spice Powder is a blend of spices Chinese cooks often use as a dry rub. The name comes from the five different tastes in Chinese philosophy. These are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and pungent, often referred to with the Japanese term “umami.” There are many different five-spice powder blends, but many include star anise, Chinese cinnamon, cloves, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. You can also feel free to make your own.
Choosing and Preparing Chinese Spare Ribs
The cut of ribs you use in this recipe is critical. Traditional spare ribs come from the lowest part of the ribcage near the belly. This cut has a much higher ratio of fat-to-meat than other ribs and guarantees juicy meat and a luscious mouthfeel.
You can also use St. Louis cut ribs which come from the same area of the ribcage as spare ribs, but are trimmed square.
As with any other rib dish, you want to allow the flavor of your marinade to soak thoroughly into the meat. It is best to allow eight or more hours for marinating. Although, you can do a quick marinate of at least an hour if you are in a rush.
Remember to cut the rack of ribs into individual pieces before marinating to get the most flavorful results.
Make It a Meal with more Chinese Take Out recipes
One of the best things about going to a Chinese restaurant is sharing dishes. Why not create other Chinese favorites for a more authentic experience? Try these favorite Chinese classics:
Chinese Spare Ribs
- 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin or dry sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 pounds pork spare ribs
- In a medium sized bowl combine Hoisin sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice cooking wine, five spice powder, chopped garlic, honey, and ketchup. Stir until the sauce if fully blended. Pour over pork spare ribs and marinate for at least 1 hour. These taste better if you can allow them to marinate a little longer. Bake at 375 for about 40 to 50 minutes.