By Andrea Pavee
Many years ago, on a trip back home to Brisbane, I rekindled family ties with brunches, lunches and dinners.
In the home of my Grand-Aunt Thora, Mum and I were served up a platter of spare ribs. Intrigued by the delightful flavours of the meat on the bone, I casually asked her how she made it.
Her answer took me by surprise. Instead of a long list of ingredients, the marinade just contained 3 basic ingredients, easily found in any Asian kitchen: Hoisin sauce, honey and black pepper!
Back then, my children were very young, so ruffling up a quick and easy meal was always welcomed.
This dish has stood the test of time in our family and frequently on Sunday dinners, it is a staple. And so, from my home to yours, here is this super easy, very tasty recipe for you to try.
We have only used pork ribs for this dish, alternating between back ribs or spare ribs.
Generally, spare ribs have more meat and fat on the bone than back ribs so if you are watching your weight or food, then back ribs would be the healthier option.
I have never tried this recipe with beef, but suffice to say, pork is the more tender meat plus, it cooks faster.
Chicken drummets and wings would make good alternatives since the ratio of meat to bone is about the same as pork. Plus, they cook pretty fast too.
You can roast your ribs as a slab, or cut them into pieces. The choice is yours.
Hoisin sauce is a staple in Cantonese cuisine and can be used either as a glaze or marinade. However, go lightly since it is salty.
You can use any type of honey you have on hand at home. Just be sure to taste your marinade as you go so that the flavours blend well together. No ingredient should overpower the other in this recipe.
Tub honey like Capilano, etc. are sweet, so a little goes a long way.
If you substitute that honey with an orange blossom, linden tree or kelulut honey, you may have to add more since their sweetness is subtler.
While the recipe only calls for black pepper, I find that using a combination of black and white peppers lends a subtle depth of flavor into the dish.
You may have to go easy with the peppers if you have young ones at home since they may not be able to eat peppery foods.
Generally, I would recommend the meat marinate for at least an hour.
However, when I am hard pressed for time, I have been known to marinate the ribs, and bake them straightaway. No complaints so far!
I usually roast my ribs in the oven for about an hour with the temperature hovering between 150 – 180 degrees Celsius. When cooking with honey, keeping the temperature low is always better since sugar tends to burn on high heat.
I also baste, or turn over the ribs every 15 minutes so that the meat cooks evenly.
Once done, I transfer the ribs onto a clean plate, give them a final sprinkling of black pepper and they are ready to go.
Serving these ribs with steaming hot buttered rice makes a wonderful Sunday treat. (See earlier post for buttered rice recipe)
Baked Oriental Pork Ribs
1 side back or spare ribs
2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons honey
Black and white pepper
Wash and pat dry the side of ribs. If you like, you can slice them up into individual pieces and place them in a baking dish.
Prepare the marinade in a separate bowl.
The measurements are merely a guideline. Depending on the brand and type of hoisin sauce and honey you use, you may need to adjust the taste accordingly.
Pour the marinade over the ribs and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.
About 2 hours before mealtime, set the heat to between 150 – 180 degrees Celsius in your oven. Take out your meat and leave to rest for about half an hour.
Place the meat in the oven and bake for about an hour or until done. To keep the meat moist, baste or turn over the ribs every 15 minutes.
Once cooked to perfection, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Lavishly shower with black pepper before serving hot with buttered rice.
HomSkil would like to thank Andrea for her contributions to this blog.
Do check out Andrea’s other articles.
This recipe is a “must try” if you are starting a family and planning to have many family traditions. If you have a maturing family, this recipe is a great way to bring everyone together.
Posted by Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 9 April 2021