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Sticky Char Siu Ribs

Sticky Char Siu Ribs

C

Imagine tender, juicy ribs coated in a glossy, sweet-savory glaze that clings to your fingers and begs to be licked clean. Sticky Char Siu Ribs are a tantalizing fusion of traditional Chinese barbecue flavors and succulent pork ribs. This dish takes inspiration from the beloved Cantonese char siu  and transforms it into a mouthwatering rib recipe that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a summer barbecue, a  family dinner, or a July 4th feast, these ribs are sure to be the star of the show. The combination of hoisin sauce, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and aromatic spices like Chinese 5 spice powder creates a marinade that infuses the meat with a rich, complex flavor. Once cooked to perfection, these ribs are irresistibly sticky and sweet. Get ready to elevate your rib game and impress your guests with this delicious, but shockingly easy, twist on a classic favorite. These ribs have been called meat candy before and only require 15 minutes (?!) of hands-on time, so let’s get into it.

ingredients for sticky char siu ribs

Char Siu Ribs Marinade

You’ve heard me sing the praises of marinades before, but please allow me to rhapsodize about them just a little bit more.  For one thing, they tenderize and add so much more flavor. What I really love about them though is how easy they make getting dinner on the table.  A few minutes of prep the night before and you wake up in the morning with the glorious feeling of not only knowing what’s for dinner, but having all of the prep already done. I repeat, you wake up and dinner is basically already made! I start by mixing all of the marinade ingredients together.

mixing sugar and salt for ribs

adding spices to marinade

adding the rest of the char siu marinade ingredients

If you want the bright red color that’s characteristic of traditional char siu, feel free to add a teaspoon of red food coloring. Your Sticky Char Siu Ribs will be just as addictively delicious either way. There is too much sugar in the marinade to dissolve by stirring alone, so the next step is to briefly heat it just long enough so that all the sugar dissolves. Heat it on medium while constantly stirring, and remove from the heat when the sugar is dissolved, you should have a glossy smooth sauce.

dissolving sugar in char siu marinade

Then I let it cool to room temperature. I reserve about a cup of it and put it in the fridge, this will be used to glaze the ribs with when they’re cooking. But first we will use the rest to marinate them. You can use either St. Louis style ribs or baby backs, it’s really a matter of personal preference. Confused about the difference? St. Louis ribs are generally meatier and often have more fat, which can make them more flavorful but they may require a longer cooking time to be done to your liking. Baby backs are typically leaner and more tender, and they cook faster due to their smaller size. St. Louis ribs tend to have more meat between the bones whereas baby back ribs have more meat on top. Both will be delicious in this recipe.

I start by rinsing the ribs and thoroughly patting them dry.

Then I use a sharp knife to pierce through the thicker silverskin on the underside of the ribs so the marinade can penetrate more thoroughly. You can also remove the silverskin, that too is a matter of personal preference. I leave it on because it’s labor intensive to remove, and it helps keep the ribs together which makes it easier to cook and serve. Some people feel removing it makes for a better eating experience, I personally don’t mind the chewy texture that it adds. You do you!

piercing skin on the underside of the ribs with a knife

pouring marinade over sticky char siu ribs

covering ribs with plastic wrap

I like to let my Sticky Char Siu Ribs marinate at least overnight. Of course two nights is even better. I flip them over in the middle so both sides are fully coated. When I’m ready to cook these bad boys, I remove them from the marinade, discarding the excess. I bake them on a shallow baking sheet lined with foil.

wrapping ribs with foil

basting ribs

It is more of an Asian style to cook ribs until they are tender, but not falling off the bone. We generally like a little chew left. But if you prefer them to be fall off the bone, bake them for another hour or so before removing from the oven. Then cook for another hour, basting every 15 minutes. They will look lusciously glazed and smell amazing when finished:

Serve with Corn Fritters, Japanese Potato SaladLychee Mai Tais, and Mango Sago for an epic summer feast your guests won’t stop raving about! Can’t wait to hear what you think of these, or to see platters of your glorious Sticky Char Siu Ribs-tag us @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations.

 

 

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recipe card photo sticky char sui ribs

Sticky Char Siu Ribs

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus marinating time)
  • Cook Time: 3-3 1/2 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: entrees
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 racks St. Louis style or baby back ribs

Marinade:

  • 1 ½ cup sugar 
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons five spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground white pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • ½ cup shaoxing wine
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 Tablespoon molasses
  • 12 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the marinade by combining the sugar, salt, five spice powder, ground white pepper, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, molasses, garlic, and red food coloring in a medium saucepan. 
  2. Turn the heat to medium and keep mixing until you dissolve the sugar. Do not bring the marinade to a simmer. Just heat it enough to melt the sugar.
  3. Let the sauce cool to room temperature.
  4. Reserve about 1 cup of the marinade separately and store in the fridge. You will use this marinade for glazing the ribs.
  5. Rinse the ribs and thoroughly pat them dry with paper towels. Trim any excess fat. Then flip the ribs bone side up and score the underside of the ribs several times with a sharp knife through the silver skin so the marinade will penetrate more thoroughly. If you prefer, you can also remove the silverskin by grasping the edge and pulling it off.
  6. Transfer the ribs to a container and pour the rest of the marinade over the ribs making sure the ribs are evenly coated.
  7. Put a piece of plastic wrap on top of the ribs pushing down to eliminate any air pockets. Cover and allow the ribs to marinate for at least 4 hours in the fridge. But for the best flavor, allow the ribs to marinate 2 days, flipping the ribs over halfway during the marinating time to ensure even absorption.
  8. Pull the ribs out of the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off. Put the ribs in a shallow foil covered baking tray, making sure the ribs are in one layer. Cover the ribs tightly with aluminum foil. Discard the used marinade.
  9. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and move the oven shelf to the middle.
  10. Put the ribs in the oven and bake for 1.5-2 hours, until the ribs are just starting to get tender but are still somewhat firm.
  11. Remove the ribs from the oven, uncover and pour off the fat and juices that have collected in the tray. Baste with the reserved marinade. Return to the oven and bake for another hour, basting every 15 mins. 
  12. Allow the ribs to rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve!

Notes

*These ribs are tender but not fall-off-the bone soft, which is more of an American tradition with ribs. If you prefer a softer texture, cook the ribs initially for an extra hour before uncovering to start the basting.

* Any leftover ribs can be refrigerated. They keep for 5 days in the fridge. You can either heat the ribs in the oven wrapped in foil or in the microwave for a couple of minutes. 

*You can also freeze any cooked ribs. Refrigerate to defrost before heating as directed above. If you choose to microwave from frozen, lower the power and microwave gently or choose the defrost setting before heating.

Keywords: char siu, bbq, barbecue, chinese food, ribs, summer, marinades

Dorayaki

Dorayaki

J

In many Asian cultures, the highest compliment you can pay a dessert is to say that “it’s not too sweet”. Enter Dorayaki, a beloved Japanese confection that’s perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth without overwhelming it. These delicious little pancake sandwiches are filled with a read more

Korean Stir Fried Potatoes

Korean Stir Fried Potatoes

JQ

In my recent travels through Seoul, I rekindled my love with all the little side dishes, known as banchan, that accompany a meal. These sides often end up stealing the show from the main dish. Kimchi, spicy beansprouts, steamed eggplant, cucumber salad…the variety is dizzying. read more

Rosé Rabokki

Rosé Rabokki

K

If you’re a fan of Korean cuisine like I am, you’re probably familiar with tteokbokki, the hugely popular street food featuring chewy rice cakes in a spicy, savory sauce. But have you ever tried rosé tteokbokki? This delightful twist combines the classic flavors of tteokbokki with a creamy sauce. At first glance the sauce looks similar to an Italian pink sauce which is probably how it came to be called rosé. But the sauce is actually made from prized Korean ingredients like gochujang and gochugaru. Half and half and mozzarella temper the heat and add addictively rich creaminess. And to take it up a notch, we’re adding ramen noodles and toppings like fishcakes and ham into the mix, making it a delicious mashup known as rabokki.  It’s a carbapalooza!

I first tasted Rosé Rabokki last year. My daughter Zoe is a Superfan of Korean foods and she had been talking about this Korean restaurant near her university where she discovered a new item. She brought home some leftovers in a box for me to try. As soon as I took a taste, I knew why Zoe was obsessed. It combines all of her favorite flavors in one bite. I also knew that I would get sticker shock looking at my credit card bill, so I decided to find a way she could make it at home. It took me a couple of attempts, but I think my version is definitely restaurant worthy, yet simple enough that any college kid can make it. Rosé Rabokki is top notch comfort food, so let’s get into it.

photo of the ingredients needed for rose rabokki

I start by making the Rosé Rabokki sauce. Creamy half and half makes up the base of the Rosé Rabokki sauce. Then we enliven it with smoky, spicy, and a touch of sweet punchiness by adding sweet gochujang, Korean chili flakes (gochugaru), soy sauce, sugar, and salt.

sauce ingredients for rose rabokki

sugar rose rabokki

soy sauce rose rabokki

Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring to combine until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is smooth. There is no need to heat the sauce.

cooked sauce

When the sauce is done I set it aside and I dice the onion,  mince the garlic and scallions and then I prep all the fun ramen toppings like fish cakes and ham.

cutting fish cakes

You can use Spam in this, it’s a Korean favorite, but I prefer ham so that’s what I typically use.

slicing ham

ramen toppings

When everything is prepped I start making the broth that’s going to flavor the rice cakes and noodles. If you have any of my anchovy dashi on hand, this is an excellent use for it. It’s my preferred stock because it has a strong, assertive (but not fishy) flavor that really stands up to the other flavors. You can also substitute chicken broth or whatever stock you have on hand. But personally, I would probably add a teaspoon of dashi powder to boxed chicken stock if I didn’t want to go through the hassle of making anchovy stock.

stir frying onions

garlic and rice cakes

pouring broth over rabokki

stir rice cakes

adding ramen noodles and sauce to pot

addings ham eggs fish cakes

Once your ramen noodles are halfway cooked, it’s time to add all that glorious cheese!

Simmer for a couple of minutes until the noodles are cooked to your liking (I prefer a firm al dente), and the cheese has turned the sauce into a lush creamy pool of deliciousness.

And then it’s time to dig in! Garnish with some scallions for a little color, texture, and bite.

beauty shot

I happen to know this is excellent with an adult beverage (or for nursing a hangover) so whip up a batch of my Watermelon Soju to enjoy with your rabokki. Let me know when you’ve tried this recipe and don’t forget to tag us on your socials @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!

 

 

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recipe card rose toppoki

Rosé Rabokki

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: serves 2
  • Category: entrees
  • Cuisine: Korean

Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 oz topokki rice sticks
  • 2 cups anchovy broth or chicken broth (use less salt if your broth is salty)
  • 1 block instant ramen/ramyon (discard the seasoning packets)
  • ¼ large onion, diced finely
  • 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
  • 4 ounces spam or ham, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 ounces fish cake, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 green onions, trimmed and minced

Sauce:

  • 3 Tablespoons gochujang 
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon gochu-garu (Korean chili flakes)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup half and half

Instructions

Make the sauce:

  1. Put the gochujang, soy sauce, gochu-garu, sugar, half and half, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Stir for a minute or two with a whisk until the sugar is melted and the sauce is smooth. Set aside.

Make the stew:

  1. Heat a medium pot (I used a 4 ½ quart pot) over medium heat for several minutes and then add the oil and onions.
  2. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and rice sticks and stir to combine.
  4. Add the broth to the pot, raise the heat to high, and bring the liquid to a simmer.
  5. Cover the pot with a lid, lower the heat slightly so it doesn’t boil over, and let the rice sticks cook for 3 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the rice sticks from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add the ramen noodles, sauce, hard boiled eggs, fish cake, and spam/ham.
  7. Cook for 3 mins, stirring occasionally to keep the rice noodles from sticking to the pan.
  8. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top of the stew and cook for a couple more minutes, stirring the sauce until the cheese has melted and the ramen noodles are cooked through but al dente.
  9. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve in the skillet and let everyone serve themselves or ladle out into a couple bowls. Serve immediately.

Notes

*You can use any kind of fish cake you find at the asian market. The korean one I used is flat and is the size of half a sheet of paper. They are packed 4-6 sheets per pack. But Japanese style fish cakes, vietnamese/thai fish balls, or Chinese Fish Tofu are all fine. They all have a mild seafood flavor and a bouncy texture.

*You can make this vegetarian by substituting the fish cakes for tofu (fried tofu cutlets would be perfect here) and maybe some wild mushrooms for the ham. Use vegetarian stock for the liquid in the sauce.

*Instant ramen noodles are not good leftovers so try and eat those up first. But rice sticks reheat well. Any leftovers can be gently heated in a covered pan over medium heat for several minutes until the rice sticks regain their chewy texture-adding a couple tablespoons of water to help loosen it up. Otherwise microwave on moderate heat for several minutes.

Keywords: hangover food, comfort food, ramen, korean, rice cake, toppoki, spam, carbs


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