Monday 4 March 2013


 When I was growing up, we hardly ever ate spare ribs. Spare ribs are practically bones, usually relegated to the soup stock. I can't imagine that now everyone is paying good money for what the butchers used to toss out as scraps. 

I do understand the reason why people like ribs. The bones make the meat so sweet and tasty. I do like them myself but my frugal nature tend to compare the price per weight against the fleshier cuts of meat. Some ribs are meatier than others. Some are more like bare ribs than spare ribs. 

I'm not a mean Mum and when it comes to what my children want to eat, I just happily serve. They love ribs. Probably it is partly because they feel liberated from the rule "don't use your fingers when eating".

The hands on method of eating is part of the allure of eating ribs. The sticky sauce that sticks to the fingers is part of the delightful experience. The ribs should be fall apart tender for ease of eating.

Baking is by far the simplest way to cook them. It has to take time to melt and absorb the flavours of the seasonings. When it is ready, there isn't much else needed. 

I'm taking a break from good old barbecue ribs. These pork ribs are oven fried with a hoisin sauce glaze and toasted sesame seeds and coriander sprinkled at the end. It goes equally well with rice or potatoes and salad on the side. Also keep lots of serviettes and finger bowls within reach. For afters? Why toothpicks of course!


(serves 4)

about 1.8 kg. baby back ribs (about 4 racks)
2 c. cola
1/4 c. sherry
1/4 c. of light soy sauce
1 tbsp. garlic
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 tbsps. corn flour (corn starch)
1/4 c. oil
2 tbsps. hoisin sauce
2 tbsps. honey
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 1/2 tbsp. choppped coriander


Pre-heat the oven to 350° F/ 180° C.

Line a large roasting tin with foil to minimize washing up. Line the rack of ribs in a single layer. 

Mix the cola, sherry, soy sauce, garlic and ground pepper. Pour over the ribs. Cover the the baking tin tightly with another sheet of foil. 

Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the ribs are fork tender. The cooking time will depend on the meatiness of your ribs.

Raise the temperature to 420° F/220° C.

Dust the rack of ribs lightly with corn flour on both sides and arrange on a baking sheet. 

Drizzle with 2 tbsps. of oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes until browned.  Turn over at half time and drizzle with the rest of the oil. Do not overcook to retain the juiciness of the ribs.

Mix the hoisin sauce, honey and sesame oil. Add 2 tbsps. of strained cooking liquid and mix. 

Brush half of this mixture on the top side of the racks. Bake again for 10-15 minutes, turning ang brushing the other side with the rest of the glaze halfway through the cooking time. 

Cut the ribs into single pieces. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and chopped coriander.

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