TONY STAPLES: A seriously messy meal to celebrate Chinese New Year

Chinese barbecue ribs
Chinese barbecue ribs

With just over a week to go to Chinese New Year, Tony Staples, executive head chef of The Arora Hotel in Crawley, shares his favourite recipe...

The countdown for Chinese New Year is on and my chefs and I have been busy planning a celebration meal on the day for staff.

Kung Po chicken, beef in black bean sauce, sticky rice and noodles will all be on the menu. But if I don’t do my now-famous Chinese ribs, I will be lynched by my colleagues.

Thanks to Chinese New Year and plenty of summer barbecues, I have perfected this recipe. I make them at home all year round and my children love them. They definitely need to be served up with a large pile of napkins and perhaps some toothpicks for afterwards.

And I wouldn’t recommend eating these on a first date – they are seriously messy.

You can also turn them into another tasty Chinese nibble. Flake the meat off cooked ribs and roll into balls. Coat in flour, then beaten egg and finally Panko breadcrumbs (available in good supermarkets) and deep fry for a minute or two. They are delicious dipped into soy or hoisin sauce. So, two recipes in one for you to enjoy.

Happy Chinese New Year!

The Grill in the Arora is Crawley’s only AA-rosette restaurant and has recently retained this honour for the third year running. To book, phone 01293 530000. Follow us on Twitter. Share your Chinese food images with us on Instagram by tagging @aroragatwick.


Chinese barbecue ribs

(Serves 4-6)

2 racks of pork ribs, cut into individual ribs

4 shallots, finely chopped

8 tabs of hoisin sauce

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

8 tabs of sesame oil

Two tabs of runny honey

10cms piece ginger, peeled and finely diced

2 tabs Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry

2 tabs soy sauce

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp five-spice powder

1 tsp red food colouring powder (optional)


Place all the marinade ingredients in a blender and blitz into a smooth paste.

Put the ribs into a large dish and use your hands to coat them thoroughly with the marinade. Leave to marinade overnight.

Preheat an oven to 140oC and put the ribs into a roasting dish. Cover with foil and roast for 2-3 hours (depending on how thick the ribs are).

In the last half hour, turn the oven up to 225oc and remove the foil to allow the ribs to caramelise.

Serve with sticky rice, stir fried vegetables and plenty of kitchen towel!

Chef’s tip

If you want to make them stickier, add a couple of tablespoons of golden syrup, and if you like a fiery kick, stir a chopped red chilli into the marinade mix.

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