Chinese Marinated Pork Ribs Recipe

In the very early days of this year, I was invited to lunch by a blogger-friend*. In preparation for the meal, she said two promising things: “I hope you like Chinese food” and “Come hungry.”

In her pretty apartment filled with lovely things to look at — postcards and drawings and old vinyls and slim books with soft covers — she treated me to a cornucopian spread of Chinese dishes, all of them family recipes from her mother’s kitchen.

Among these were her Cantonese-style roasted pork ribs (siu pai gwat), sticky and lightly sweet in their caramelized protein crust, and marvelously soft underneath, so soft you could pull the bones out of your mouth neatly, with nary a shred of meat left on them. Paired with a bowl of steamed white rice from her adorable rice cooker — a doll-sized version I have not been able to shoo out of my covetous mind — it was an absolute delight.

Sticky and lightly sweet in their caramelized protein crust, the ribs were marvelously soft underneath, so soft you could pull the bones out of your mouth neatly, with nary a shred of meat on them.

The wonderful thing about being a guest at a blogger’s table is that there is a good chance that whatever you’ve eaten and loved has been featured on their site, or will soon be, so you don’t even have to badger them for a recipe.

And indeed, this one had.

Although the recipe is very simple — it’s just a matter of marinating and then roasting the meat in the oven — it took me a few weeks to muster the ingredients needed for the marinade. But when Maxence and I decided to trek over to the 13th arrondissement (where the largest Paris Chinatown is) for dim sum one Saturday, a quick dip inside Paris Store turned up the two missing ingredients.

A week later, having purchased some pork ribs — travers de porc in French — from my butcher**, I set out to follow the recipe. I lowered the oven temperature a bit, and found that it would have been good to cover the dish for the first half of the baking (as I recommend in the recipe below) to avoid excessive coloring, but aside from those details it was a smooth ride.

I cooked some short-grain white rice and made a spicy cucumber salad with rice vinegar, sesame oil and garlic, and we sat down to a felicitous lunch.

The next day, I used the leftover rice and meat to make (what else?) fried rice, with radish leaves stirred in. I also kept the bones in the freezer for my next tonkotsu ramen, happy as ever to be getting three different dishes out of one hunk of meat.

Fried Rice with Pork Rib Meat

Fried Rice with Pork Rib Meat

* I’d brought her a round of starter bread slashed in her initial — or rather, the inital of her nom de plume — and a little jar of my starter. She later made a wonderful drawing of that loaf, and then embarked on her own bread-baking adventures with her freshly baptized starter, Anatole.

** I encourage you to seek out ethically raised pork meat from a provider who can answer your questions. The overwhelming majority of pork meat available in Western countries comes from concentrated animal feeding operations that have disastrous consequences on the environment, their workers, animal welfare and human health. To learn more, you can for instance read Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals.

Chinese Marinated Pork Ribs Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 hours

Serves 4 to 5.

Chinese Marinated Pork Ribs Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) pork ribs, organic and/or from a provider you trust
  • 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce (more info)
  • 4 tablespoons oyster sauce (more info)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine (Mingou recommends Shao Hsing Hua Tiao Chiew; I used a Japanese cooking sake)
  • a thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey

Instructions

  1. Start marinating the meat the day before. Cut the ribs in about 6 equal pieces. In a medium bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce and rice wine. Add the meat and turn the pieces to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
  2. The next day, remove the meat from the fridge about an hour before baking, and preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F).
  3. Transfer the meat and marinade to a baking dish large enough to accommodate the meat in a single layer. Slice the ginger in thin slices (scrub it first, but don't bother peeling it), mince the scallions, and add to the dish. Cover the dish loosely with foil.
  4. Insert the dish in the oven and bake for 2 hours, turning the meat regularly and basting it with its juices. Remove the foil after the first hour, turning the meat more frequently for even browning.
  5. Brush the meat with the honey and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
  6. Slice the meat between each bone, and serve over steamed rice (I generally make 120ml or 1/2 cup uncooked rice per person), with a cucumber salad.

Notes

Adapted from a recipe by Mingou.

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  • http://bakeology101.blogspot.com/ Kartik @ Bakeology 101

    Wow! Clotilde, these asian flavored pork ribs look divine!

  • http://breadandmilkandblackberries.blogspot.com/ Ruth

    This looks delicious. Another recipe to save. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://leheirloomtomato.com Le Heirloom Tomato

    I like how simple this recipe is and I like the fact that I can make it in my oven. I will definitely try this, thanks.

  • http://thedelightblog.wordpress.com/ Cassandra Potier Watkins

    I am going to try this on the weekend… ribs are finger lick’n good!

    By the way, have you tried the butcher who comes from Normandy and parks his truck in front of Pain et des Idees Friday afternoons?? Excellent quality meat and excellent cooking advice. He has friends raising just about every animal you can imagine in Normandy and is happy to take special orders for the next week.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I haven’t yet been to that Friday afternoon mini-market, but plan to asap. Will try the Normandy butcher’s meat for sure, thanks!

  • http://www.chocolatecoveredkitchen.com Janice Harper

    I can taste it already. But my guess is it’s a mess to clean up so best to make in a foil lined or glass-type pan. And a fistful of chilled scallion flowers would be a nice touch and taste contrast. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      It was actually a lot easier to clean up than I thought it would be. I simply soaked the tray with a bit of dish soap and hot water, no serious scrubbing necessary.

      And that scallion flower idea is lovely!

  • http://beyondthepeel.blogspot.com France @beyondthepeel

    I love Asian marinades on meat. I just made Asian braised Brisket and I can’t get enough. The sweetness and the spice are a perfect match. Thank you for sharing

  • http://www.theinnkeepersdaughter.com The Innkeeper’s Daughter

    Thank you! A friend used to make these and I always wanted to know how. Will hold on to this and try soon! Yolande

  • http://www.bigapplenosh.com serena @bigapplenosh

    This looks absolutely delicious!

  • http://ricekernel.wordpress.com Rice Kernel

    My taste-buds are salivating for the savory-sweet marinade and some fresh white rice! Thank you for sharing. The ingredients are on my grocery list!

  • http://www.dessertfortwo.com DessertForTwo

    Beautiful and simple! Thanks for sharing :)

  • http://sasasunakku.com Sasa

    You make your own tonkotsu ramen!? Sugoi!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’ve only done it once so far, but the results were so good I’m definitely doing it again. :)

  • http://thefoodarchive.wordpress.com Hanna

    Looks delicious! I want to cook this immediately!

  • http://www.tandcake.wordpress.com Tamsin

    Oh wow, those look good. It’s great to have a suggestion for the leftovers too.

  • http://www.culturezest.org/home/users/detail/?UserHexID=73427218-9BE9-4919-8842-F2D519B90147 Morgan

    That sounds amazing. I only have one question: What is runny honey? Is it just honey that’s been warmed slightly?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Some honeys have a pourable consistency, some are more creamy/set. The former is easier to use here. But if you have creamy honey on hand, you can warm it slightly as you suggest to make it runnier, and therefore easy to brush onto the meat.

  • gingerpale

    Just the other day an internet friend and I were discussing how it’s fairly rare to see meat featured in your posts — and Whap! here are some sticky, scrumptious looking spareribs!
    I am in Utah, and 2 years ago found a family farm that raises pigs exactly like it should be done–we’re delighted with the pork and the man. Thanks for mentioning piggie welfare!
    If anyone in this area is interested, here’s a link to the farm info.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the link! It’s great that you have access to such a farm.

  • http://bitesoutoflife.com Ishita S.

    Wow these look amazing. Since I live in an NYC apartment with no balcony, I’ve always assumed that ribs and the like were relegated strictly to the “eat out” category. But these look so doable!

    Quick question: I have an inherent dislike of fish sauce — is oyster sauce similar? Could I swap it for something else?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Oyster sauce is very different from fish sauce, it is nowhere near as pungent. And because it is mixed with other ingredients, there is absolutely no hint of oyster flavor in the finished product. I think you should give it a try, but if you don’t want to risk it, the page I’ve linked to in the recipe offers substitution ideas.

  • http://www.eatandrelish.com cory {relish}

    as always – gorgeous post! i just love checking in and seeing new content here. these ribs could not have had more perfect timing – the weather has finally cleared in NYC and we have 2 days forecasted to be wonderful (at that point this just means not raining!) and i am making ribs saturday night for a mini spring BBQ. i am definitely going to incorporate this flavor profile, but will do mine on the grill.

    thank you as always clotilde!

  • http://freshslowcooking.com Zibi

    I love that you didn’t let any of your ribs got to waste. Making new dishes out of leftovers and scraps is an art in itself. Thanks for the tips :)

  • saluki

    Made Judge George Chew’s Justifiably Famous Ribs from Molly O’Neill’s One Big Table–They were also scrumptious….
    I’ve read he makes a terrific smoked salmon as well.

    Never thought I could make restaurant quality Chinese Ribs and char siu as well at home but, it really is easy, once you have all the ingredients assembled.

    PS. Been using a combination of honey and Chinese maltose for my ribs and char siu as was suggested by Rasa Malaysia on her blog—Very sticky to work and you also have to warm it but gives a really nice taste.
    Saving your recipe for my list to try.
    Thanks!

  • http://bestfoodintown.info Best Food In Town

    Nice recipe! I am hungry already… anyway.. You might want to read this < a href ="http://recipesformywife.info/">America’s Secret Recipes, for It has almost all the recipes of the < a href ="http://bestfoodintown.info/">Best Food In Town

  • Lynn H.

    Thank you for the pork comment. It goes for chicken and beef (and fish) as well – in my family, we call it “nice” meat. My boys now know to check whether the meat is “nice” before they put it in the shopping cart.

  • http://food-hound.blogspot.com The Food Hound

    I love Asian flavors!! I bet these were so delicious!! Hoisin and honey make the sauce so sticky and rich. And I agree about the source of pork- we buy all our meat free-range and grass-fed (if applicable).

  • http://Http://feedingmykidsbetter.blogspot.com Shaz (feedingmykidsbetter)

    Looks awesome. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  • http://Grapegoddess.blogspot.com Lynda

    My list is growing for my local Asian market! :)

  • http://scrambledpreservedfriedcured.wordpress.com/ Emily Franklin-Strauss

    I love soy and mirin glazed salmon with honey. Fab photos!

  • http://www.SilverMagpies.com SilverMagpies

    I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for ages. It looks delicious.

    PS If you ever find the tiny rice cooker let us know :~)

  • http://caitlincooking.blogspot.com Caitlin

    These were delicious, and adapted wonderfully to the slow cooker!

  • http://www.achaoticcook.com/ Kelly

    This looks wonderful! I have never been very good at making ribs but I believe I will give this recipe a go. I have a chinese green bean dish that would go really well with this!

  • http://www.cailenascher.blogspot.com cailen

    those look delicious! i found your blog via no country for young women and i’m so glad i did. i love your writing and it’s amazing and admirable that your passion became your career. i’m working on that now…

    cheers!
    cailen

  • http://www.StyleNectar.com Juliane

    Yum! I’ll have to make this! I totally agree about using only organic and well sourced meat and poultry. Not only does it taste SO much better but it’s the only way I can eat meat knowing it’s been raised in a humane and ethical manner. Love your blog!
    Juliane

  • Lynda Mills

    Have not had really tasty Asian ribs since I left San Francisco-there is a large Asiaian market here in Houston, I can get all the needed ingredients. Thank you!!! One question – I read the newsletter with interest then read it again trying to find how you were fooled on April Fool’s Day- hmmm ?? Can you tell the story or is it too personal? Don’t mean to be rude or put you on the spot…just curious!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Just a few friends making me believe something I completely fell for. It wouldn’t make sense taken out of its context, but it was a pleasant reminder that it’s fun to be tricked once in a while. :)

  • http://mattnewkirk.blogspot.com/ Matt

    I wanted to try this for a while and the best ribs I could find were in bulk…so, 9.3 pounds of ribs later, an absolutely fantastic dinner was made :) So easy and so tender… the hardest part was finding enough people to come over and help us eat them! (We managed)

    I served the cucumber salad you mentioned (or at least, a variation with those ingredients) which was also a big hit. Thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Happy to hear it, Matt, thanks for the feedback!

  • Helena

    You preheat the oven at 180 degrees, do you need to reduce the temperature once your ribs in the oven?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      No, no need to.

  • Ben

    Hi, loving the look of the recipe for the Chinese marinated pork ribs, but was wondering if you have posted the recipe for the spicy cucumber salad? As I can’t find it on your site. If not are you going to post it?
    All the best Ben:)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I don’t really have a recipe for that cucumber salad, I just sort of wing it: thinly sliced cucumbers (sliced on the mandolin slicer), finely minced garlic, a splash of rice vinegar, some sesame oil, and a bit of heat from hot sauce or fresh chiles, depending on what I have on hand.

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