Chili Spare Ribs

OK, this one is addictive and not ultra-healthy as it is fried but it is so tasty you can have it as a treat. If you don’t want to fry the ribs, you can bake them, in which case you won’t need the potato starch and egg mixture. Bake them in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 for 25 minutes, put some sea salt, ground white pepper and chopped chilies in a small bowl and dip the ribs into the mix just before serving. Or just follow the recipe below – it’s delicious either way.

Preparation time: 10 minutes plus marinating
Cooking time: 15 minutes (25 minutes if baking)


  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons shaosing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 14 oz pork spare ribs
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 medium red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • cups peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried chili flakes (optional)
  • sea salt and ground white pepper


  1. Put the five-spice powder, dark soy sauce and shaosing rice wine in a bowl. Marinate the ribs for as long as possible, overnight is best.
  2. Mix together the potato starch and beaten egg.
  3. Dip each spare rib in the mixture then roll it in the finely chopped chilies, coating it well. Repeat with all the ribs.
  4. Heat a wok over high heat and add the oil. When a small piece of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 15 seconds the oil is hot enough.
  5. Deep fry the ribs until they have a crispy coating. You can sprinkle some dried chilli flakes over the ribs in the wok if you want a fiery kick.
  6. Remove the ribs with a slotted spoon and drain any excess oil on paper towels.
  7. Season with some sea salt and ground white pepper and serve immediately.