Having super-tender fall-off-the-bone pork ribs, shining with a sticky Chinese glaze, always excites me. I remember when I first tried ribs like these – I was about 7 or 8 years old, having a family meal at our local Chinese restaurant, and I remember thinking wow – I’d never tried anything like that before. Bundled with other great dishes like noodles and stir-fried rice, it was beyond exciting. My face and hands were absolutely covered in sauce and that’s how you should be after tucking into these little beauties. Get stuck in.


  • 1 rack of higher-welfare pork belly ribs, trimmed of excess fat (1.5-2kg)

  • olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons Chinese five-spice

  • 2 spring onions

  • 2 fresh chillies

  • 1 bunch of radishes

  • Glaze

  • 3 red onions

  • 3 star anise

  • 1 level teaspoon Chinese five-spice

  • 4 tablespoons fresh apple juice

  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

  • 2 tablespoons runny honey

  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar


  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/gas 3. Get yourself three layers of tin foil, 1-metre long. Place the ribs in the centre, drizzle them with oil and rub all over with the five- spice and a good pinch of sea salt and pepper. Seal into a tight parcel and pop on a tray in the middle of the oven for 3 hours, or until just tender and cooked through.

  • 2.

    Meanwhile, for the glaze, peel and slice the onions and put them into a frying pan on a medium heat with a lug of oil and the star anise. Cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and starting to caramelize, stirring occasionally. Stir in the five-spice for 2 minutes, stir in the rest of the glaze ingredients and leave to bubble away for another 2 minutes, then turn the heat off and leave to cool a little. Fish out the star anise, transfer the mixture to a blender and blitz until smooth, loosening with a splash of water, if needed, then pass through a fine sieve so it’s super-super smooth. Have a taste and season if required. Trim the spring onions and deseed the chillies, then finely slice both lengthways and put them into a bowl of ice-cold water so they curl up. For a laugh you can randomly score the radishes and pop them into the water for a bit of a naff 80s feel; otherwise, leave them whole or cut them into quarters.

  • 3.

    When the time’s up, transfer the ribs to the tray, discarding the foil, and turn the oven up to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Brush a good layer of glaze over the ribs and return them to the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, then I like to keep brushing on glaze and popping them back into the oven every minute after that for a few more minutes, to build up a really good layer of dark, sticky glaze. Serve the ribs with a bowl of any leftover glaze for dunking, and with the radishes, chillies and spring onions on the side.

Nutritional information

Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

  • Energy 736kj
  • Fat Total 56g
  • Saturated Fat 17g
  • Protein 35g
  • Carbohydrate 22g
  • Sugar 13g
  • Sodium 346mg

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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Recipe from Jamie’s Comfort Food, published by Michael Joseph. Recipe © Jamie Oliver. Photography © Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited 2014, by David Loftus.

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