Nothing beats crispy, but tender salt and pepper chilli spare ribs! It’s simple, inexpensive, easy and delicious! Try my ultimate take away style ribs, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

Everyone loves takeaway style ribs right? When my husband and I go to our local Chinese, it’s guaranteed that he’ll order the most expensive starter on the menu, which is the Iberico dry ribs. OK, fair enough, Iberico pork is pretty expensive, but I don’t think it’s worth €8,00 for 5 pieces of plain ribs. Especially not at the local takeaway.

Back when we lived in the UK, our favourite Chinese had these salt and pepper chilli spare ribs on the menu, and they weren’t €8,00 for sure! We loved them but have never really had anything similar since moving to Spain. So of course, with any dish I love, I try to replicate them at home.   and so far I think I’ve nailed it!

Salt and Pepper Chilli Spare Ribs

Ultimate Take Away Style Salt and Pepper Chilli Spare Ribs
Salt and Pepper Chilli Spare Ribs

The type of ribs certainly makes a difference in the tastiness of your ribs. I like to use short ribs or baby back ribs with a good equal ratio of meat and fat. If you have too much meat then the ribs can be dry, so finding the right balance really makes a huge difference in taste and juiciness. 

For this recipe, you will need 1kg of ribs, which’s enough to serve 4 people. Even though the cooking time is short, the boiling time of the ribs can take to an hour to two hours. I find that for a kilo of ribs 1 and a half hour is sufficient. 

Boiling the ribs

Firstly you will need to wash your ribs before boiling. Rinse them at least twice, by doing this reduces the scum that will float on top of the water while boiling. Place the ribs in a large pan and fill with water until it covers the top of the meat.

boil the ribs in water
boil the ribs in water and add spices

You can then add the star anise, salt and bay leaves. Boil for about 1-2 hours. You want the ribs to be tender, but not falling off the bone so it becomes difficult to handle. Otherwise, you’ll end up with ‘mushy meat’, and that’s not what you’re trying to go for. 

boiled ribs
boiled ribs

Fry the garlic

Chop 2 cloves of garlic and fry them in 1 tsp of oil. Make sure to stir the garlic frequently so it doesn’t burn. You want crispy, golden pieces of garlic to sprinkle on the ribs so avoid burning them otherwise it’ll be bitter. Once done, set aside on a paper towel. 

fried garlic
golden fried garlic

Prepare the onions

Thinly slice the onion, chillis and spring onions. For this recipe, I used 3 Thai chillis without the seeds. I grew these last year and I know they’re potent and I didn’t want to spoil the taste by making it too hot! Of course, it’s completely up to you how many chillis you want to add but bear in mind that it can get pretty hot if you also add the seeds. Set the veggies aside until later. 

onions chillis and green onions
onions, green onions, sesame oil, fried garlic and chillis

Ribs batter

Prepare the batter by adding flour, cornflour, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Add the water a little at a time, you want the batter to be smooth and to have a thinner consistency. Coat the ribs with the batter so it gives a slight crunch without the doughy texture. 

Cooking the ribs

Heat up 500ml of oil in a wok. Place the ribs into the prepared batter and stir until the ribs are covered. Fry in oil until golden brown, and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Do this until all the ribs are fried. 

Salt and Pepper Chilli Spare Ribs
Salt and Pepper Chilli Spare Ribs

Last step

In a separate wok, heat up 3tbsp of oil and fry the onions, chilli and spring onions for 5 minutes or until the onions are slightly translucent. Add in the fried ribs and mix well making sure it’s evenly coated. Drizzle 1 tsp of sesame oil and season with salt and pepper before serving. 


Ultimate Take Away Style Salt and Pepper Chilli Spare Ribs

Ultimate Take Away Style Salt and Pepper Chilli Spare Ribs

Chilli, Salt & Pepper Ribs

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Take away style tender, crispy and spicy Salt and Pepper Chilli Spare Ribs coated in a thin crispy batter. Served on a bed of soft onions.


For the ribs

  • 1 kilo short ribs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • water

Ribs batter

  • 45g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 25g cornstarch/potato starch
  • 100ml water 
  • 1/2 tbs soy sauce (optional)

Ribs seasoning

  • 3 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 1 whole onion, strips
  • 1/2 cup scallions
  • 2 tsp roasted garlic
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • salt & pepper


  • Wash 1kg of ribs and place in a pan with star anise and bay leaves.
  • Add water until it covers the top of the meat. Cook on medium heat for 1 hour or more until the ribs are soft. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
  • Slice onion into strips, chop chillis and spring onions, set aside for later.
  • Finely chop 2 cloves of garlic and cook in a small pan with 1tsp of oil. Keep the heat low as you want to avoid burning the garlic. Cook for 5-10 minutes until garlic is golden and crispy. Place on a paper towel and set aside.
  • In a large bowl add flour, cornflour, salt and pepper. Add water until it forms a thin consistency. Add the cooked and ribs and coat evenly in the batter.
  • Heat up 500ml of oil in a pan or wok. Fry the ribs until golden brown. Set aside to drain on a paper towel.
  • When the ribs are all fried. Heat up 3 tbsp of oil in a pan. Fry the onions, chillis and spring onions for 5 minutes or until the onions are slightly translucent.
  • Add in the ribs and stir well, coat the ribs with the onions, chillis and green onions. Drizzle sesame oil and cook for further 2 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with crispy garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well and transfer to a plate. Enjoy!
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    British/Filipina now living in Valencia, Spain. Mum, wife, designer and illustrator. I am also the author of Ohla Living where I share my lifestyle, travel, recipes and creative ideas.

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