Pork Ribs with Zing! Honey Soy Deliciousness.

Ooooooh, do you smell that? It’s cinnamon…five spice…soy sauce…Yesssssss. If you are looking for a fun, Asian flare to dress up regular ol’ pork ribs, go no further.

Veering away from the traditional smoked, barbeque ribs, these bad boys add a bit of zing to your taste buds and I promise you, will make them very happy. This recipe was actually given to me by an Australian “friend” (I use the term loosely..we dated a few years, it ended badly, the end), but despite the icky ending, the recipe is damn good. The Ryan is a huge fan of this dish, so I make it for us often.

Don’t let the long list of ingredients fool you, this recipe is quick and easy. Pop the ribs in for a half hour, serve up with some rice and BAM! – dinner. As they bake, the smell will permeate your house and make your mouth water.

I took the opportunity to make these ribs because they are really supposed to be made in a dutch oven. I have made them many, many times before without a dutch oven, so I will mention the variation in the recipe. 🙂 More than anything in the world, I have been telling the Ryan (no seriously, throughout our entire relationship) how much I want an enameled cast iron dutch oven. I drooled over them on Saturday at Sur La Table…oh, to be able to afford Le Creuset. Maybe after college. Or for my wedding. Whichever happens to come first.

But I digress…my friend Deb (house-sitting for a kitchen goddess has its perks) has two dutch ovens (enameled cast iron, no less!) that I just couldn’t resist trying out. So without further adoo, honey soy ribs:

*A note for those of you who don’t do spicy: the chili flakes in this make it quite spicy – adjust to a smaller amount OR omit if you don’t want the heat; Also, the recipe calls for Oyster Sauce – if you’re allergic to shellfish, check the bottom of this recipe for substitutions*

1 Vidalia Onion, chopped, 1/4 inch Slice of Ginger, 5 Cloves Garlic, run through a press or minced, 4 Tablespoons Honey, 1 cup Chinese Rice Wine (Or Dry Sherry), 4 Tablespoons Light Soy Sauce, 1/2 Cup Oyster Sauce, 1 & 1/2 Teaspoons Chinese 5 Spice, 1 Cinnamon Stick, 1 Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes, and 1 Cup Water. Preheat your oven to 335 (or 325 if you have a gas oven) degrees. (I know it’s an odd number – remember this was adapted from an Australian recipe. Celsius to Fahrenheit ftw!)

Arrange your ribs in the dutch oven. Mine were “country style boneless pork ribs” I grabbed at the store. Short ribs are much better for this recipe in my opinion, but this is what I had. 🙂 (If you don’t have a dutch oven, arrange them in a bake pan.)

Add the onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and chili flakes to a bowl.

Next, the honey, 5 spice and oyster sauce.

Finally, the soy sauce, rice wine and water. Whisk them together until the honey has dissolved.

Pour the mixture over the ribs in the dutch oven. Mmmm. Smell that?? (Again, if you don’t have a dutch oven, pour the mixture over the ribs in the bake pan.)

Bring to a simmer on the stove top, only for just a minute. (If you don’t have a dutch oven, just pop them directly into the oven to start cooking – cover with aluminum foil.)

After you have simmered the ribs, put the lid on and pop them in the oven. Bake them for an hour and a half. Do not touch them for an hour and a half. Your house will smell amazing and you will want to rip open your oven and eat them all RIGHT NOW, but trust me. It’s worth the wait.

Annnnnnnnd they’re done! 🙂 Don’t they look delicious? I’m sure you were smelling them while they were baking..and drooling. 😉

Jasmine rice goes quite well with these, and you will have plenty of sauce to pour over the ribs or the rice if you so desire. Voila! Enjoy!

Oyster Sauce Substitutions:

– There is such a thing (if you weren’t already aware) called Vegetarian Oyster Sauce – it’s made with shiitake mushrooms as opposed to oysters. To find out more, or find out where to get some, click here.

– I found this handy recipe for making your own substitute here: “Another option is to prepare a vegetarian substitute for oyster sauce. This will be more useful for vegans. All you have to do is to dissolve one mushroom broth cube in half a cup of boiling water. Add two tablespoons of brown bean sauce and one tablespoon of unprocessed sugar to the solution. Allow it to boil for sometime and then add cornstarch mixed with water (one teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in one teaspoon of cold water). Stir the boiling solution, till it thickens. Your oyster sauce substitute is ready.”

Hopefully either of these will work for you, and you can include this in your recipe. 🙂 Other suggestions I found were thai fish sauce, or Hoisin sauce, but I have not tried either. If you happen to have one of those on hand, maybe give it a try and see!

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