“Having super-tender fall-off-the-bone pork ribs, shining with a sticky Chinese glaze, always excites me. I remember when I first tried ribs like these – I was about 7 or 8 years old, having a family meal at our local Chinese restaurant, and I remember thinking wow – I’d never tried anything like that before. Bundled with other great dishes like noodles and stir-fried rice, it was beyond exciting. My face and hands were absolutely covered in sauce and that’s how you should be after tucking into these little beauties. Get stuck in. ”
Get yourself three layers of tin foil, 1-metre long. Place the ribs in the centre, drizzle them with oil and rub all over with the five-spice and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
Seal into a tight parcel and pop onto a tray in the middle of the oven for 3 hours, or until just tender and cooked through.
Meanwhile, for the glaze, peel and slice the onions and put them into a frying pan on a medium heat with a lug of oil and the star anise. Cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and starting to caramelise, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the five-spice for 2 minutes, stir in the rest of the glaze ingredients and leave to bubble away for another 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to cool a little.
Fish out the star anise, transfer the mixture to a blender and blitz until smooth, loosening with a splash of water, if needed, then pass through a fine sieve so it’s super-super-smooth. Have a taste and season if required.
Trim the spring onions and deseed the chillies, then finely slice both lengthways and put them into a bowl of ice-cold water so they curl up. For a laugh you can randomly score the radishes and pop them into the water for a bit of a naff 80s feel; otherwise, leave them whole or cut them into quarters.
When the time’s up, transfer the ribs to the tray, discarding the foil, and turn the oven up to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
Brush a good layer of glaze over the ribs and return them to the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, then I like to keep brushing on glaze and popping them back into the oven every minute after that for a few more minutes, to build up a really good layer of dark, sticky glaze.
Serve the ribs with a bowl of any leftover glaze for dunking, and with the radishes, chillies and spring onions on the side.
Jamie's Tip: This is definitely an opportunity to have a finger bowl on the side and a tea towel at the ready.