These Salt and Pepper Ribs are fall-apart-tender with a light, crispy coating. Topped with a mouth-tingling salt and pepper topping with chillies and spring onions, they're totally moreish!
These ribs undergo a two-stage cooking process. First they're cooked slowly in stock with some aromatics - this to to make the meat tender, almost to that fall-apart stage.
Then we coat the ribs and fry them up in a crispy coating with Chinese five spice (the essential component for any Chinese-style salt-and-pepper recipe).
This results in crisp, yet meltingly tender spare ribs that make an impressive dinner.
👩🍳PRO TIP I like to slow-cook these ribs on the stovetop, as it's quicker, but you can do this first part of the recipe in a slow cooker. See the notes sections of the recipe card for information.
This is how they look straight after being fried - a lovely crisp and flavourful coating, that just gets better when we add the toppings too!
So tender and tasty - I love the vibrant colour of the chillies and spring onions (scallions) on top.
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Salt and Pepper Ribs Recipe
Slow cooked ribs:
- 8 meaty pork ribs - (sliced into individual ribs) - this is about 1.5kg or 3.3lbs
- 1 litre (4 cups) hot chicken stock
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic - peeled and chopped in half
- 1 tbsp rice wine
- 1 tbsp caster or granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 3 heaped tbsp cornflour (cornstarch in USA)
- 2 tsp chinese five spice
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 240 ml (1 cup) oil - for frying
- Small bunch spring onions sliced on the diagonal
- 1 green chilli - chopped finely
- 1 red chilli - chopped finely
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- Add all of the slow cooked rib ingredients to a heavy-based large pan. Bring to the boil, then place a lid on, and cook on a low heat for hours. Check a couple of times during the last hour of cooking, and top up with a little more water if required.8 meaty pork ribs, 1 litre (4 cups) hot chicken stock, 1 tsp minced ginger, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp rice wine, 1 tbsp caster or granulated sugar
- Turn off the heat and drain the pork. The cooking liquor is no longer needed, and can be discarded (or used as a great stock for soup). Leave the ribs to cool for a few minutes, so they're cool enough to handle.
- Make the rub by mixing the salt, pepper, cornflour and Chinese five spice together in a large bowl. Add in the ribs and dust them in the rub.1 ½ tsp salt, 1 ½ tsp ground black pepper, 3 heaped tbsp cornflour (cornstarch in USA), 2 tsp chinese five spice
- Remove the ribs from the bowl and lay out on a tray or board.
- There should still be a little of the powder left at the bottom of the bowl. To this add the cold water and stir together to form a liquid.2 tbsp cold water
- Brush this liquid on the ribs (this will give a lighter crispier coating to the ribs).
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the ribs. Cook on medium-high for 8-10 minutes, carefully turning every 2-3 minutes until the ribs are golden and crisp.240 ml (1 cup) oil
- Remove the ribs from the pan and place on a large serving plate.
- Add 1 tbsp of the oil from the ribs to a small frying pan and heat over a medium heat.
- Add the spring onions, chillies, salt and garlic into the hot pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant, then sprinkle over the ribs and serve.Small bunch spring onions sliced on the diagonal, 1 green chilli, 1 red chilli, ½ tsp salt, 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
This recipe was first published in September 2015. Updated July 2023 with new photos, a couple of recipe tweaks and some housekeeping.
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