Barbecued Spare Ribs

These are those wonderful sweet ribs that you find at the steak houses in South Africa. They bring you just a great big rack of spare ribs and perhaps some gralic bread and you eat wiht your fingers. I love making this type of thing from time to time. These need a bit of marinating beforehand.

Quoted from Tessa Kiros, Falling Cloudberries, South Africa Section, page 239

Serves 4

85 g butter
1 onion, minced in a food processor or very finely chopped
250ml (1 cup) tomato ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) brown sugar
80 ml (1/3 cup) lemon juice
80 ml (1/3 cup) runny honey
1 kg baby-back pork ribs, halved horizontally if large

Heat the butter in a wide non-stick saucepan and saute the onion over gentle heat until softened but not browned. Add the rest of the ingredients except the ribs and 1 cup (250ml) of water to the pan and simmer for 10mins until the sauce has thickened.

Put the ribs and the sauce in a large ovenproof dish so that they fit quite compactly and leave them in the fridge for at least a few hours.

The ribs are best cooked over a barbecue. Either heat a gas barbecue to medium-high or heat your coals, If using coals, let them begin to die down, making sure there are no flames as you don't want to burn the meat. Scrape off any excess marinade and barbecue the ribs until they are deep golden on both sides and charred in some places. Check that the pork is cooked all teh way through to the bone. If there are any really thick ribs, cut them up individually and put them back over the coals.

Remove the ribs from the grill and put them back into the marinade in the dish. Add 125ml (1/2 cup) of water to the marinade. put the dish on the barbecue and cook until the sauce boils and become sticky, thick and dark (the sauce must come to a boil and boil for a few minutes). Turn the ribs over a few times while you are reducing the sauce. Serve immediately either cut up individually or in their racks.

My experience with this:

Worst come to worst, if you have neither gas barbecue nor coals one, bake the ribs in a moderately heated oven for 2 hours, basting and turning often. When done, place it under the grilled to charred some places. Place on serving racks.

Pour the remaining marinade sauce in a large shallow tray and place it under the griller. It'll take just minutes for your sauce to turn into a dark, rich, sticky mass of BBQ sauce. Serve that along side the ribs.

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Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese chicken rice. What can I say apart from yummy, delicious, artery-clogging and totally satisfy my cravings!

A small twist from the normal chicken rice balls gave this Hainanese Chicken Rice a fusion look but the taste is definitely not affected!

A drizle of the kecap manis sauce over the rice and you're good to go! We like lots and lots of rice to go with this, what about you?

Soem poached it some steamed it. I opted for the later because I felt the chicken could preserve its juiciness this way.

This might not be very authentic and not Hainanese at all in fact but this is certainly what I'll do again in future. Th skin of the chicken might not look good, the chopped pieces are all smashed and flying around and even the shallots are a little overburnt, however this was really yummy and apart from theh fact that this one is very very time consuming, if you do have some time to kill, do try it.Corianders and spring onions are a must have garnish but I couldn't get hold of any coriander on that day so I really gotta make my spring onion as awesome as possible though if you don't mind eating a piece of work-of-art.

Adapted and greatly modified from Happy Homemaker88's Virtual Home, Masterchef and Christine's Recipe

Spring Onion Curls: some call this green onion/green shallots

Washed the spring onion and cut them into 3cm pieces. Use a pair of sharp kitchen scissors and make random cuts all over one end of the 3cm piece. Plunge that in cold water and let it curl up by itself.

Cut up some fresh red chilies, from centre onwards and have about 4 slices of chili rounds with seeds removed. Stuff the chili ring through the spring onion piece and use scissors and cut up both end this time. Drop that in the cold water as well and let it curl up.Now, get busy doing something else.

Chicken stock:
1-2 chicken carcass
6 cups of water
1 spring onion, chopped to 3cm length pieces

Bring all the above to boil and simmer, covered for approximately an hour to 90mins. Skim the surface at the beginning until no foams are visible, only clear liquid stock.

Set aside and use this in the following condiments.

Hainanese Chicken:

4 chicken drumsticks, trimmed off fat and retain the fat
1 spring onion, roughly chopped
1 tbsp chinese cooking wine
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
5 slices of thick age old ginger, peeled
2 garlic cloves, skin removed

Wash the chicken thoroughly and drain well. Blend the garlic and ginger to form a paste. Use your finger to go in between the skin and the flesh of the chicken and slowly move your way in to get sorta like a pocket in there. Stuff the ginger-garlic paste evenly into these pockets. Be careful not to tear the delicate skin. Rub the cooking wine, soya sauce and sesame oil all over the chicken evenly. Lay some chopped onion at the base of the steaming plate. Place the chicken drumsticks on top and top up with remaining spring onions. Steam this in a hot steamer on:

High heat for the first 10 minutes
Medium heat for another 25 minutes

Do test the doneness by pricking a wooden skewer on the thickest part of the meat. If juice runs clear, then you are done. Immediately remove it from the steamer and plunge it in a large bowl of cold icy water. Let it stay in there for 20 minutes or so.

1 clove shallot, thinly sliced
2 tbsp oil

You really need to get the shallots thinly sliced for them to cook and be done at the same time. Heat up the oil and saute the shallots until golden brown (not too burnt like mine!). Dish out and set aside.

Chicken Rice:
2 cups of rice, washed and drained well
2 pandan leaves, washed, knotted
1 tsp salt
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 slices of thick age old ginger, smashed to release aroma
Enough chicken stock to cook 2 cups of rice
All the chicken fat trimmings from the chicken thigh

Depending on how much fat trimmings you obtain, add a little oil if necessary into a pan and heat it up. Add in the the chicken fat and when they are melting away, toss in the ginger and garlic. Stir fry them until fragrant and garlic start turning light brown. Toss in the drained rice and stir to coat well. Pour everything into the rice cooker and add enough water to cook it. Throw in the pandan leaves and let the rice cooker do the cooking whilst you get along and do many more other stuffs!

Dipping Sauces:

Garlic- Chili Sauce:
2 large red chilies, seeds removed
5 slices of thick ge old ginger, peeled
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 tbsp of lime juice
1/4 cup of chicken stock
1 tbsp sugar or more
1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Process everything above until smooth and set aside. If you have a mortar and pestle, pound it first before processing and adding all the liquids. Pour them out on a dipping dish and set aside. Rinse your food processor and get ready for the next dipping sauce!

Ginger-Spring Onion Dipping Sauce: I would definitely double this the next time!

1 spring onion, green part only, roughly chopped
1-2 cm piece of peeled age old ginger, roughly chopped
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp canola oil

Process the ginger and spring onion until very fine. Tip them out into a heat resistant dipping saucer. Heat up the oil and when they are smoking, pour them into the ginger mixture. It will sizzle so step back. Stir to coat around. The oil will turn to a light shade of greenish like. Set aside.

Thick Black Sauce or Kecap Manis Dip:

1/2 tbsp oil or chicken fats if you have a lot to spare an are not worry about the cholesterol
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 tbsp sugar
Thickener: 1 tbsp cornstarch + 3 tbsp cold water, stir to dissolve

Heat the oil or chicken fats in a pan and add in the minced garlic. Saute for a while and add in the chicken stock. Bring to boil and boil it for 2 minutes or so. Add in the sugar and stir to dissolve. Thicken with the thickener. Depending on how thick you want them to be, you might not necessarily use all of them. Pour them out into a dipping dish and set aside.

Chicken Soup:
Remaining chicken stock
All the leftover pan juices from steaming the chicken, skim off fats
Chopped spring onion
Ready-made fried shallots
Dash of salt and pepper

Heat up the remaining chicken stock and the pan juices and season with dash of salt to taste. Pour into a bowl and season with dash of pepper, handful of fried shallots and the chopped spring onion. Keep warm.


Use a large round china and place a large scoop of moulded rice on one side. Plae some cucumbers on one side. Place chicken on lettuce leaves decoratively. Drizzle them with the shallot oil. Garnish with spring onion and corianders.

Unless you wanna be fancy, use the rice to make molded rice balls, your lup-lup delights. Here, I use the Winnie the Pooh rice mould that Ellena generously gave me. Thanks Lena!

Finally, with whatever remaining chicken stock you have, reheat that and season with dash of salt and soya sauce. Mine was already quite up to taste without much seasoning.

Pour the soup into two bowls, sprinkle it with more salt and pepper, handful of fried shallots and chopped spring onions.

Serve the Hainanese chicken rice with the soup along side the 3 dipping sauces.

Aaron likes it best: a little bit of each sauces with a bite of chicken and lotsa guilty rice!

Have fun trying, if you ever do try!

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