This is a pretty foolproof method to make delicious ribs and all you need is an oven. Aaand a little patience. They are first braised in a flavourful liquid for fall-off-the-bone tenderness, then finished at high heat until they are burnished with sticky glaze. They won't have the smoky grilled flavour that rib aficionados may demand, but I think they're great as they are.
I've made (faux) barbeque ribs using this method, but was in the mood for something different this time around. I'm not sure how five spice ribs came into existence, but it just seems to work well with the pork. Chinese five spice powder is typically a combination of anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, and szechuan peppercorn, lending a spicy, warm woodsiness to whatever it seasons. (That just sounded like a perfume description, didn't it?)
I served these with some lemongrass jasmine rice. This involves tossing a lemongrass stalk, bruised with a few whacks of a cleaver, in with the rice while it cooks. That's it. Just remember to remove the stalk before serving!
Recipe after the jump...
Sticky Five Spice RibsServes 2
1 rack baby back (pork) ribs
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
3 tbsp honey
2 tsp sesame oil
Preheat oven to 300F. Stir together soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, garlic, 1 tsp of five-spice powder, and 1 cup of water. Put ribs in a roasting tray and pour liquid over top. Cover tray tightly with foil.
Bake for 2 hours or until ribs are tender (the meat will have pulled back, exposing the tips of the rib bones). Drain off the liquid. Cut the ribs into individual pieces (which may be tricky because the meat will be falling off the bone by then).
Toss the ribs with the honey, 1 tbsp rice wind vinegar, 1/2 tsp five-spice powder, and sesame oil. Increase the oven temperature to 450F and return the ribs to the oven until they are glazed and sticky. This will take 20-30 minutes, but keep an eye on the ribs since they can burn pretty easily at this stage.