a good ribbin’


pork spare ribs braised with honey, soy & ginger.

Ribs are up there as one of my favourite cuts of meat. Possibly even a second to the already much discussed legs. But while I am often whipping up a decadent batch of lambshanks or duck marylands, I can still count on the fingers of one hand the number of times that I’ve cooked ribs.

In the past I’ve always associated ribs with a serious amount of delicious bone gnawing and finger licking.  Hoeing into the sweet sweet meat that lies closest to the bone is something that I adore (possibly I was a dog in a previous life?). But I am conscious that my guests do not always share my love of bones so have tended to give the ribs a miss.

Recently, I came across a recipe for spare ribs which are a nice compromise.  Like a cross between pork belly and regular ribs, they have that wonderfully rich flavour while still being knife and fork ammunition. As a bonus there are a couple of dainty bones to keep us gnawers happy…and provide something for us to poach from the plates of the unenlightened non-bone lover …all good things…

pork spare ribs braised with honey, soy & ginger
serves 4

This little number was inspired by a Karen Martini recipe. Like all braises it’s great for mid week entertaining because it doesn’t require any onion softening or eat browning: just pop everything into a dish and let the oven work it’s magic. It can be made in advance and then refrigerated until required.

I prefer the sauce to be relatively liquid so it can be soaked up by the fried rice but feel free to reduce the sauce just before serving if you prefer things more syrupy and unctuous.

4 pork spare ribs
1 medium brown onion sliced
75mL light soy sauce
75mL oyster sauce
150mL dry sherry
150mL water
3cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped into matchsticks
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cinnamon stick
1T chinese five spice
2T honey
4-6 red chillis, chopped
1/2t chilli powder, or to taste.
corriander leaves, to serve
fried or streamed rice, to serve (see below)

Preheat oven to 150C. Combine all ingredients in a large casserole dish and bring to the boil. Cover and bake 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until pork is meltingly tender.

When ready to serve, place pork and sauce under a hot grill and cook until ribs are well browned. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with rice passed separately.

simple fried rice
serves 4 as a side dish

Another from Karen Martini, this fried rice makes for a more interesting accompaniment than steamed rice. As Karen suggests you could turn it into a meal on it’s own by adding a sliced Chinese pork sausage, some cooked & peeled prawn and frozen peas and stirring through a chopped four egg omelette.

It’s important that your rice is cooked and cooled before you begin or you run the risk of mushy fried rice.

1/3C vegetable oil
3C cooked long grain rice, cooled
1 lge brown onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4cm fresh ginger
75mL light soy sauce
1t sesame oil
4 green onions, finely sliced
250g bean sprouts

Heat oil in a large wok and fry onion, garlic and ginger over a med-low heat for 5mins, stirring occasionally.  Add rice, soy sauce and sesame and stir fry until rice is heated through. Taste and season with extra soy sauce if required.

Stir through green onions and bean sprouts and serve immediately.


pork spare ribs braised with honey, soy & ginger.


  • I was just discussing with my mother what we can make as an alternative to a roast – this sounds like just the thing! Can’t wait to give it a try on the weekend!

  • ellie,
    the ribs would make a great alternative to a roast…good luck

    I totall agree honey soy and ginger are a winning combo in any form

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