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Shanghai Style Sticky Spare Ribs

These Chinese short ribs are so delicious, and an easy way to impress your guests. An authentic recipe adapted from a Shanghainese chef I learned during my many years in China, I bet you'll love them as much as me.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Asian, Chinese, Shanghainese
Keyword Asian, Lamb, Pork, Short Ribs, Spare Ribs
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Marinating 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 807kcal
Cost $15


  • pan or wok


  • 1.5 kg Spare Ribs I used lamb because it's delicious, but this recipe works with pork (which is traditional) as well.
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing Wine can substitute Sherry if you need to
  • 1 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 inch Ginger finely sliced
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced or thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp Chili Flakes optional
  • 1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce Chinese style
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 cups Water more or less, just to barely cover the ribs in the pan
  • 2 stalks Lemongrass finely sliced
  • Sesame Seeds for garnish
  • 1 tbsp Neutral Oil for cooking


  • Begin by trimming all the ribs. Cut off the silver skin if you are using pork (or just want to) and slice the rack into individual ribs.
  • In a bowl combine the soy sauce, shaoxing wine, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, and chili flakes (if using). Add the ribs and mix everything up. Cover with a lid or plastic and place in the fridge for 1 hour to marinate.
  • In a hot pan or wok add the oil and let come to temperature. Using tongs move the ribs from the marinade directly into the pan. When moved, add the dark soy sauce to the leftover marinade. Shake around to brown all sides of the ribs. When browned add the lemongrass and sugar and mix. Then pour in the rest of the marinade.
  • Once the pan begins to bubble, reduce the temperature to medium-low and cover with a lid. Let simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid and raise the temperature back to high for a few minutes to further thicken and reduce the sauce.
  • Serve the ribs with some white rice and garnish with a sesame seeds for presentation. Enjoy!


These ribs are best eaten right away, but if you want to save them you can! Place them in a sealable container and they will be good for up to 3 days. If you want to reheat them you can do so in the microwave, or back in a hot pan to further caramelize and crisp the edges.