"Off The Spice Rack", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). It's all about spices this week. My spice rack are full of spices, and which one shall I use? One or two or a combination of those lovely fragrant spices? Hmmm... A couple of months ago, my sister gave me a big packet of star anise. I told her that I would take forever to finish that big packet. She told me, "Take your time!" :) So I'm using four lovely fragrant star anise from my big jar to make this recipe from Nigel Slater, Pork Ribs with Honey and Anise.
Really easy dish to put together. As you can see above, the meaty pork ribs are chopped in rather small pieces, because I have forgotten to inform the butcher to chop them in large pieces. I am a regular customer and he knows that I've always preferred the ribs to be chopped to small or medium-sized pieces for my Chinese dishes. I realised that when I paid him, but then it's already too late. On with the dish, regardless of how big (or small) the chopped ribs are!
I made only 1 kg of ribs and it is enough for 4, though the original recipe cooks 1.5kg, meant for 2-3. Marinate the ribs with all the ingredients for at least an hour, I marinated the ribs for about 4 hours in the fridge. Remove from fridge about 20 minutes before baking, and preheat the oven while waiting. I have used a baking pan lined with foil to make cleaning easier as it will be sticky and greasy. Place the ribs on the foil-lined baking pan and bake until the ribs are sticky and have turned to a dark caramel colour. At the recommended baking time by Nigel, at 1 hour 15 minutes, the ribs are still pale and do not look sticky at all. It took an additional 30-35 minutes for that to happen. And I turned the ribs every 20 minutes during the first hour and every 10 minutes after the first hour, until they are done. The aroma of the star anise is so fragrant. We had it with rice, but there isn't any sauce at all, with the sticky bits all dried up and stuck to the foil, but the ribs are sweet, sticky, slightly hot from the chilli flakes and fragrant. Best described by Nigel Slater as "A truly sticky ribs recipe this one, but without the ubiquitous black treacle and tomato puree. Sweet, slightly hot and absurbly sticky, they will fill the kitchen with that warm, aniseed smell you so often encounter in Chinese restaurants."
Pork Ribs with Honey and Anise
(adapted from "The Kitchen Diaries", Nigel Slater)
6 tablespoons thickish honey
3 heaped tablespoons oyster sauce
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
4 whole star anise
1/4 teaspoon salt flakes
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1.5kg meaty pork ribs
To make the marinade, spoon the honey and oyster sauce into a roasting tin or baking dish. Peel and chop the garlic and add it to the dish with the chilli flakes, star anise and salt. Grind the peppercorns roughly and add the to the marinade.
Toss the ribs in the marinade, then set aside for an hour or so. It won't hurt if they stay there overnight.
Roast the ribs at 180C/Gas 4 for an hour and fifteen minutes, turning them in their sauce from time to time. Keep an eye on them, as sometimes they tend to burn easily. They are ready when the meat is tender, though far from falling off the bone, and the ribs are glossy with sauce.
Serve with rice, spooning over the sauce from the pan.
Enough for 2-3.
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