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Chinese Spareribs with Shallots

Finger-licking good Chinese spareribs, with sticky sweet and savory glaze. You won't be able to stop until the very last piece and the plate is clean!

Finger licking spareribs with minimum effort! These Chinese spareribs with shallots is seriously one of the easiest and most delicious dishes I can imagine, precisely how comfort food should be. Plus, the recipe is so easy it is almost impossible to mess up. There are simply so many pluses to this dish that I am going to keep making this from time to time :)

Ingredients to prepare Chinese spareribs with shallots: pork spareribs, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, shallots, star anise, ginger, and sugar.
Ingredients to prepare Chinese spareribs with shallots: pork spareribs, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, shallots, star anise, ginger, and sugar.

What you will need to prepare this dish

As long as your kitchen is stocked with common Chinese pantry ingredients, you should have no problem gathering all that you need to make this dish.

Asides from the pork spareribs and shallots, you will need:

  • light soy sauce, or sub with a reduced-sodium regular soy sauce (some people find that using regular soy sauce may be a bit too salty)
  • Shaoxing wine
  • star anise
  • ginger
  • dark soy sauce
  • rock sugar, or regular granulated sugar
  • salt

The first two ingredients are needed to marinate the pork spareribs, and the rest along with the marinating sauce is needed to prepare the sauce.

Good substitutes for Shaoxing wine

Whenever possible, please use Shaoxing wine that is meant for drinking, which is the one with 0% salt content. Otherwise, you can also use cooking Shaoxing wine, which is the one with salt content. Some other good substitutes that I have tried include:

  • mi jiu (Chinese rice cooking wine), the one with clear color
  • sake (Japanese rice wine), again, drinking grade is preferable to cooking grade

Please don’t substitute Shaoxing wine with rice wine vinegar as the taste is very different.

Chinese Spareribs with Shallots
Chinese Spareribs with Shallots

Chinese Spareribs with Shallots

5.0 from 8 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins

Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins

Serves: 8

Print Recipe


  • 1 kilogram pork spareribs
  • 1/3 cup light soy sauce, or use regular soy sauce, preferably the reduced sodium version
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 150 gram shallot, peeled and sliced
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon rock sugar, or to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • Garnish
  • chopped shallots


  1. In a mixing bowl, marinate spareribs with soy sauce and Shaoxing wine. Cover with a saran wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is okay too).
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan, and sauté shallot until brown and fragrant.
  3. Add the spare ribs, reserve the marinating sauce, and fry until both sides are golden brown.
  4. Add the reserved marinating sauce, star anise, ginger, dark soy sauce, and water. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for 1 hour, or until the meat is fork tender. Stir every so often.
  6. Add rock sugar. Adjust the taste by adding more rock sugar and/or salt to taste.
  7. Turn the heat to high, then cook until the sauce thickens and glaze the spareribs.
  8. Turn off heat, transfer to a serving plate, and garnish with the chopped shallots. Serve with steamed white rice.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • kiet trinh kiet trinh says:

    Your spare ribs look very nice , must try next time ! hehe

    • Anita Anita says:

      Great! Let me know how it turns out okay? :)

  • Sally Sally says:

    Your Chinese spareribs with shallots was really good. I love it, thanks for the recipe.

    • Anita Anita says:

      You are welcome Sally :) I am glad you love it.

  • simplysedap simplysedap says:

    Another of your fabulous creation. thanks Anita. ~ Linda

  • the lousy cook wife the lousy cook wife says:

    Hi Anita, is there any specific rock sugar brand that I should use for this recipe?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Stephanie, you can use any brand of rock sugar for this.

      • the lousy cook wife the lousy cook wife says:

        Thank Anita, I tried this last night. I marinated the pork ribs overnight, and I found it to be a bit salty for my taste. Probably I will do it again but only marinating it for 2 -3 hours. Otherwise, it's delicious and easy! Thanks again :)

        • Anita Anita says:

          You are welcome Stephanie :)

  • Tiffany Tiffany says:

    Regarding to the soy sauce , does dark soy sauce means kecap asin ? Thank you so much

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Tiffany, dark soy sauce is still salty, but compared to regular soy sauce, it is less salty and also thicker. The main purpose is to give a dark color to finished dish.

  • Patience Patience says:

    Hi Anita, Wow! Fantastic! I cooked this tonight and we nearly licked the wok clean! Great flavours and devoured (messily) by the 6 year old and 2 1/2 year old as well as the grown ups. We had no rock sugar so I used brown sugar but it still glazed beautifully. I think I would use half the sugar next time - maybe rock sugar wouldn't have been as sweet? After I took the lid off at the end, I still had a lot of liquid in the wok and I was worried it wasn't going to reduce sufficiently to glaze. But it did!! It magically all suddenly looked thick and sweet. Thanks again - loved it!

    • Anita Anita says:

      I'm so happy that you and your family loved it. It's the best feeling seeing everything we cook get thoroughly devoured, no? ;)

  • hermsoven hermsoven says:

    Anita, this sparerib recipe, which reminds me of Wu Xi ribs, is now my favorite. So good and so easy. The ribs just glazed and I was hooked after a single bite. I will prepare this dish as part of a dinner for friends tomorrow. Thank you! My wife, who is from Guangzhou, was also very impressed.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thanks! I am so happy you and your wife both like the recipe :)

  • Agnes Agnes says:

    Second time making it today & still finger licking delicious! I slow cooked the ribs in marinating sauce this time to get tender ribs. Thanks Anita for the recipe!

  • kayla kayla says:

    Hi Anita, cooked this yesterday, it was delicious. but it's not that tender. should I slow cooked it next time to make the meat fall off the bone? 2. Can I use chicken wings / legs instead of the sparerib? Thank you for the recipe.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Kayla, I haven't tried cooking this in a slow cooker, but I am certain it will work, and the meat will be more tender. And yes, you can use chicken wings/drumsticks instead of pork spareribs.

  • Agnes Agnes says:

    I have made this dish a few times now. Definitely a favourite! So finger licking delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe...

  • Milky Milky says:

    I cooked a small batch of long-cut (American style, I guess?) pork ribs and they were marvelous. The undertones of ginger and that hint of anise were perfect. The marination and cooking time are long, but since they're really low-maintenance, they'd be great for making along with a lot of other dishes.

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