Sticky, sweet and spicy Chinese style ribs

When you fancy a Chinese takeaway the lure of the ribs on the menu tends to be strong… well at least in my mind anyway. Try making your own so you can make them as sweet, savoury or as spicy as you want- or all three! A rack of pork ribs is inexpensive and an average sized rack feeds two people so it’s a bargain! Keep your eyes out for a rack that has plenty of meat on it as some can be a little scrawny and that only brings disappointment rather than pure porky joy!

If you cast your eye down the list of ingredients you will notice that one of them is not Chinese, but Korean: gochujang. When I was putting the marinade together I thought what would give a deep chilli flavour but stand up to the other ingredients so it was settled.

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Ingredients- serves 4
2 racks of pork ribs
120ml oyster or hoisin sauce
60ml dark soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp gochujang
2 cm piece fresh ginger- grated
2 garlic cloves- crushed
1 tbsp ground five spice

1. Ideally the ribs would have around 3 hours in the fridge marinating but overnight is perfect if you have a bit more time. Simply mix together all the ingredients in a bowl and pour most of the marinade over the racks. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate.

2. When you are ready to cook the ribs, preheat the oven to 160c/ 140 fan. Wrap the racks of ribs in foil parcels and make sure they are tightly sealed. Cook in the oven for around 3 hours (depending on the size of the racks). After this time the racks should be tender and flexible so you know they are nearly all set.

3. For the last step, turn up the oven to 200c/ 180 fan. Peel back the foil and brush the last of the marinade over the ribs and cook for a further 10- 15 minutes until sticky and unctuous. Use a knife to separate the ribs and grab a stack of napkins (you’ll need them!); serve the ribs immediately.

Chinese takeaway style ribs- let’s face it, there’s no elegant way to eat these but dive in!

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Slow cooked sticky Chinese pork belly slices

Forget your favourite Chinese takeaway this week and give this a try. The sweet pork belly meat is balanced with a savoury and punchy marinade which is a surefire winner!

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Ingredients- serves 4
8 pork belly slices
1 tsp five spice
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns- ground (optional)
2 tbsp dark soy
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 garlic clove- finely grated

1. This pork benefits from being marinated in advance, even the night before if you can so the meat can take on the different flavours. To make the marinade, simply mix the spice and wet ingredients before massaging into the belly slices. Cover and keep in the fridge before you need it.

2. When you’re ready to cook the belly, preheat the oven to 160c/ 140 fan. Place the belly slices onto a baking tray and cover with foil. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. As the pork cooks, check it occasionally and use the sticky juices to baste as needed. After the first hour, turn the oven up to 200c/ 180 fan, remove the foil and cook for a further half an hour.

Serve with long grain rice and a vegetable side dish. I served with a mixed vegetable stir fry of shredded pak choi, tenderstem broccoli, sugar snap peas and spring onion which was finished simply with soy sauce and sesame oil.

Unctuous pork belly- move over takeaways!