Braised Chinese Spare Ribs (紅燒排骨)

Does this count as “hong shao”? Who knows. I’ve watched my mother cook for 20+ years and but she never has a recipe. I don’t even really know what most of her dishes are called. But she did make some variation of this stew all throughout my childhood. I figure it’s about time I learn! A lot of this just came to me as I was going. Like parboiling. I remember peaking over the counter as a child and seeing the steam rise up out of the sink as she poured the meat out.

Not all the credit goes to mother dearest, though. I did some research before hand, namely with the wonderful blog Red Cook. This is where I got the tip to caramelize my meat after parboiling. Great article!


  • ~2 lb spare ribs
  • 1/3 cup chinese rice wine
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 large cloves of star anise
  • 2-3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks of green onion, chopped in 2 inch long pieces
  • 2 large carrots, diced large
  • ~1.5 tbs chinese five spice
  • ~2 tbs soy sauce


  1. Parboil ribs: place ribs in a large pot of just enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil for about ~10 min and skim off excess foamy stuff that floats to the top (it’s cooked out blood, fat, etc). Remove meat, drain water, then rinse meat and set aside to cool.
  2. In a dutch oven or pot, heat up 2-3 tbs vegetable oil and melt in it all the sugar. When oil is hot, place ribs into pot and sear/caramelize on all sides.
  3. Once browned evenly, deglaze pot with wine.
  4. Let it reduce a little bit, then add garlic, green onion, five spice, soy sauce, 1-2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt.
  5. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover pot ~ 2 hours. Turn meat and continue to simmer 2+ hours. Salt to taste if needed (or add more soy sauce.)
  6. Refrigerate over night and skim off fat before reheating to serve.

General note on braising:If you stop braising TOO SOON, meat will be tough and dry. This does NOT mean you overcooked it. As long as you kept braising low and slow, don’t freak out and let it it continue simmering for a few more hours. Meat will lose all it’s collegen and juicy goodness into the broth before it soaks it all back up again. So be patient!



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