This May, my husband and I visited Morimoto Asia for the first time. One of the dishes I ordered was an appetizer portion of their Hoisin Chili Sticky Spare Ribs. They were one of my favorite dishes of the whole trip, and I couldn’t wait to try their recipe at home. Making these ribs can be a bit of a chore because they are time consuming and use ingredients that you may have some difficulty finding. However, we found them to be worth the time and effort!
1 full rack of spare ribs
1 large onion
2 cups corstarch
1 ½ cups sweet chili sauce
1 cup tamarind paste (this is the most difficult ingredient to find- we bought ours at an Asian grocery store. I put a close up photo of the tamarind paste alongside the ingredients in case anyone was wondering what this looks like.)
½ cup ginger (grated)
½ cup hoisin
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup garlic
¼ cup cooking wine
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons fish sauce
You will need a large baking dish to make this recipe, which will fit the whole rack of spare ribs. I wound up using two deep baking dishes and cut the rack in half to make it work. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the oven is heating, chop the onion finely. Spread the onion, ginger, garlic, cooking wine and canola oil onto the meat. Then add enough water to cover the ribs and gently stir in the tamarind paste.
Cover the baking dish with foil and cook the ribs for 3 and a half hours. By that point, the rib meat should be slightly pulling away from the bones without falling to pieces. Remove the ribs from the oven and let them cool in the braising liquid until they are cool enough to handle.
While the ribs are cooking, you can make the sticky chili sauce. Mix together the hoisin, chili sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce and fish sauce. When everything has been well incorporated, put the sauce into the refrigerator to cool.
When the ribs have cooled, fill a bowl with the cornstarch and fill a deep pan or wok with about two inches of oil. Heat the oil to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the ribs individually, and dip each one into the cornstarch.
Drop each rib into the frying pan and fry for 2-3 minutes until the exterior is golden brown. When you remove the ribs, place them onto a wire rack to drain and cool.
Once the ribs are all fried, toss them in the chili sauce and eat immediately.
Going into this, I was skeptical as to whether I could pull off this recipe, but it came out amazingly. If you follow the recipe to the tee, you will make ribs just like the ones served at Morimoto Asia! They do come out slightly spicy, so keep that in mind for the crowd you need to feel. The recipe makes a lot of ribs, so make sure you’re hungry or serving a nicely sized crowd. This is one of the few recipes that did not do well as leftovers. While the meat was still tasty, the leftovers lack the crunch that makes these ribs so special, different, and delicious. I am looking forward to making the recipe for the Morimoto Asia Hoisin Chili Sticky Spare Ribs again during a time when we have some family visiting, so I can share with others. Do not be intimidated by the unusual ingredients or the cooking time. These are amazing.
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