Celebrate Chinese New Year With Sweet Spicy Orange Ribs

Today is the start of the Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the Rabbit and while it is suppose to be a calmer year after the tumultuous year of the Tiger it is also a year of indulgence, good taste and refinement – perfect for some good Chinese food then like these delectable ribs!

Warming and moreish – this dish will take a while to cook, but assembling the ingredients is surprisingly simple. The orange juice gives the ribs a depth of flavour and also helps to tenderise the meat.

I used to cook this a lot when I was at art school because the meat was affordable on a student budget. I lost the cook book when I moved house and have been trying to recreate it ever since. If the sauce is too sharp then add more orange juice or if you feel it’s too sweet add a little more vinegar.

Oriental Sweet Spicy Orange Ribs

Serves 4


groundnut oil for frying
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 inch of fresh ginger
1 tsp 5 spice powder
50ml of rice wine vinegar
300ml of orange juice
50ml of light soy sauce
300ml chicken stock
1 tbsp brown sugar
handful of spring onions
3 or 4 small red dried chillies
salt and pepper to taste
1kg ribs


Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a wok and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Add the ribs and brown on all sides. Next add the ginger, the five spice powder, vinegar, soy, stock and orange juice and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle in the sugar and chillies. Stir all together and leave to simmer for around two hours. The sauce will thicken up and the meat will fall off the bone.

If you prefer a thick sauce you can add a teaspoon of cornflour mixed with water to the sauce and bring back to the boil for a further five mins.

Serve with fried noodles, spring onions and beansprouts. Sprinkle a little chopped spring onions as a garnish.

by Alison Christie
Alison Christie

Alison Christie

Alison’s love of food developed when she started cooking at about 12 years old. Her mum would get her to make the roast dinner for the family (all five of them!). As a child she spent time living in Germany so was exposed to a huge range of different foods and ingredients. Alison cooks with fresh, seasonal ingredients as much as possible.

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