Hunan Spicy Pork Ribs

I miss Shanghai, terribly. It’s been almost 4 years since I visited this beautiful city. It’s the first and only city I’ve visited in China (so far). The most memorable about Shanghai to me is the amazing food. Recently I stumbled upon Fiona’s blog about all Shanghai street food and it made me miss the place even more. I’ve tasted a variety of new food in Shanghai but aside from their breakfast jian bing, I’d say the most impressionable food I’ve had is the Hunan Spicy Ribs from Di Shui Dong Restaurant that my friend Viki took me too. Although I didn’t have the right camera gear to take pictures and capture the ambiance of the place and these amazing ribs, it certainly left a deep impression that I still remember how it tasted.

Here’s recipe that I’ve found online and tweaked. The only thing that would make it taste exactly like the ribs in Di Shui Dong Restaurant is the “wok hei” which can be achieved by cooking in very high flame. The total time to prepare and cook the ribs is a bit longer than what I normally would prefer but it is undeniably worth it.

I hope you will try it too and then let me know if turned out great for you as well.





In a bowl, mix the wine, salt, soy sauces, flour and one tablespoon water. Add cooled ribs to marinade.






Hunan Spicy Ribs
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 knob of ginger, sliced
  • 1 small handful green onion (ends only)
  • 1 stick cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 1/2 c light soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 c Shoaxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
  • 75 g Chinese rock sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or good medium-dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch or cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 3/4 cups peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 fresh red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons dried chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 spring onions, green parts only, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  1. STEPS:
  2. Fill your stockpot with water. Then add the stock ingredients together and bring to a boil. Once stock is boiling, turn down the flame to low and add the ribs.
  3. Simmer the ribs for 1 – 2 hours, switch off the heat and leave the pot for 30 mins.
  4. Transfer ribs to a dish and cool in the fridge. (I left mine in fridge overnight).
  5. Make the marinade sauce. Mix the wine, salt, soy sauces, flour and one tablespoon water. Add cooled ribs to marinade.
  6. In a wok, heat peanut oil. Add ribs for two to three minutes, then remove from oil with tongs and drain ribs well.
  7. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of oil from the wok. Over a high flame, add the ginger, garlic, fresh chilies, chili flakes and cumin seeds and stir-fry briefly, until they are fragrant. Return ribs to the wok and stir well, seasoning with salt to taste.
  8. When ribs are sizzling and fragrant,add spring onions and toss briefly. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil.
Please follow and like us:

You may also like

  • Scott

    This sounds amazing, I had ribs like these when I was visiting Taipei. How many ribs does this recipe make?

    • Dory

      Hi Scott. This recipe is for about 6 to 8 pieces of ribs. 🙂 This ribs is also referred to as “cumin ribs”. Try it and let me know how you like it 🙂

  • Samuel

    If I want to make a whole rack, do I just double or triple your entire recipe?

    • Dory

      Hi Samuel. Yes. that’s what I did and it works!

  • James Donaldson

    I was first introduced to these ribs in Shanghai at Di Shui Dong, I had always been a bbq fan my daughter who doesn’t like BBQ ribs is now a big fan of the Spicy Cumin Ribs. I had also not thought of boiling the ribs, something my mother did but doing this with the Star Anise makes perfect sense and makes the house smell great. These are my favorite ribs. I have cooked the recipe as you state and it comes out great each time.

    • Dory

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, James! I sure miss Shanghai dishes. Recently been enjoying Sichuan dishes in DC. They too also use a lot of cumin in dishes.