18 August 2011

Fall of the bone tender spareribs

My first job ever was at the Sparerib Express. I was 17 (starting from 16 you are allowed to work) and was looking for a part time after school job for about one year. No one seems to be interested in offering me a job so I was over the moon when the Sparerib Express hired me. I worked from 3 till 10 every Saturday and Sunday and pretty much all the holidays. Now that I think off it, I guess I didn’t have much of a life since I had time to work in the weekends.

I was in charge of making spareribs, meaning that I had to make sure there was enough meat for that night since everything is made fresh and heated up in the microwave when ordered. My boss had this super super secret sparerib marinade recipe which he of course never shared with me. All our customers thought they would get spareribs off the grill but in fact it was just spareribs boiled in marinade. I didn’t think the ribs were that great till I tried some at an all you can eat place. That really made me appreciates the Sparerib Express’s ribs more.

Many years later after some more disappointing sparerib meals I decided to make up my own recipe.

So today I am sharing my very own very, special secret sparerib recipe that will rock you off your socks. It is sooooooo good there are not enough “o” for so. And it is so secret that even I don’t remember the recipe. The recipe changes depending on what I have in my pantry, but some elements stay the same. This is what I used this time.
From left to right: roast red pork seasoning or (sha siu seasoning), hoisin sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketjap manis (sweet ketjap), soy sauce, sweet soy sauce and a can of diced tomatoes.
Spices starting from the bottom: ginger powder, 5 spices powder, star anise powder, paprika powder, cumin powder and some whole star anise seeds. I also used 2 fresh bay leaves.
Not in the picture but I also used some honey (any kind you have), some salt and pepper and garlic and onion.
I started with sautéing one big chopped onion and a whole lot of garlic. After they brown I added the bay leaves and all the spices. I continue to stir it around so the spices can release all those nice flavors.
Then a whole bottle of ketjap manis, the whole package of red pork seasoning, 3 big table spoons of hoisin sauce, some dashes of Worcestershire sauce, some spoons of soy sauce and some spoons of sweet soy sauce and a whole can of tomatoes went in. I also added some water so there was enough marinade to cook the ribs in.
I gave it a quick stir and after it boiled I had a taste and added some salt, pepper and about 5-6 tablespoons of honey. I agree the mixture doesn’t look appealing, but wait till the ribs are done.
I rinsed about 2 kilo spareribs and cut them in smaller pieces.
Everything went into the pot and I made sure all the meat was covered. I boiled this on low/medium heat for about 1-2 hours till the meat was tender, but not falling off the bone yet. I set it aside and continued the next day.
Now that the meat has been cooked and soaked in the marinade it is time to finish it off with my secret ingredient, peanut butter. I brought the marinade to a boil and added 3 big tablespoons of peanut butter.
After the peanut butter is fully incorporated and the mixture boiled for a couple of more minutes the ribs were done. By this time the meat is nice and soft and barely holding the bone apart.

Make sure you keep the marinade! Since it takes some time to make it, you need to take maximum advantage of it and I will show you how tomorrow.
Now it is time for the finishing touch. I coated the ribs with some sweet chili sauce and put them on a rack in the oven on 200C degrees for about 7-8 minute, just so that they get a nice brown color.
We ate it with some homemade fries and a simple salad.
This plate was only half of the amount that we had and me and my sister finished it all! Man we literally pigged out!
I promised fall of the bone tender spareribs and did I deliver?
I would say YES I did big time!

Ps: these ribs can go on the bbq as well. I would just add the peanut butter right at the end and not boil it the second time. The meat needs to be a bit more firm so they won’t fall apart on the bbq.


  1. What an extraordinary blend of ingredients.

  2. AWESOME! Okay first off, brilliant use of peanut butter. I bet its one of those flavors that you're like 'man, I can't figure out what that is but BOY its good.' And secondly...the boiling in the marinade is genius. Bookmarked!

  3. Oh - My - Delicious - SPARERIB!!! This is amazing! I love the idea of the peanut butter! I have friends who smoke their ribs for 8-12 hours that are amazing...but I don't have a smoker! WOW-WEE! I am in love....

  4. Oh man, look at that tender meat! You have us all excited just looking at your ingedients and photos. I guess you have a bit of satay flavor going on with the addition of that peanut butter and spices. Sparerib Express must be regretting that you're not still working there, Lilly!

  5. Why must I look at these pictures when I am hungry? Your spareribs look mouth-watering!

  6. Where in the heck is the Sparerib Express over here! That meat is so tender and look at it just falling off the ribs. Love the addition of the peanut butter. Will have try these soon. Hope you have a great weekend.

  7. Wow these are pure perfection, what a great sauce!!! They look delicious! :)

  8. Yum! I love ribs and all the spices and flavorings you've added sounds incredible. They look so tender too. I haven't had much luck with my ribs in the past. I am going to have to try this recipe.

  9. Oh these sound delish!! They look finger licking good.

  10. Scrummy! I just love pigging out out on pork. I love this recipe of yours. You should open your own sparerib express. I hope you'll deliver to my house.

  11. I'm really interested in that last minute addition of peanut butter - definitely new to me =)

  12. I love ribs...and study every piece of recipes I find. =) I have to keep your recipe and try it out! Have a great week Lily!

  13. I really hope you all give it a try and let me know how it turned out. I wonder if you’ll love it as much as I do.


I’m curious by nature so please share whatever is on your mind.