Chefs' Recipes

Salt-and-pepper chicken spare ribs with tamarind hot sauce

Chicken spare ribs take a journey through south-east Asia in this fiery, aromatic recipe from Melbourne restaurant Gingerboy.

  • 15 mins preparation
  • 25 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
  • Print
Salt-and-pepper chicken spare ribs with tamarind hot sauce
"I would love to recreate the chicken ribs I ate at Gingerboy at home. Would you print the recipe?" - George Clancy, Albert Park, Vic
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  • 750 gm chicken ribs (see note)
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) light soy sauce
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) Shaoxing wine
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Chinese five-spice
  • For deep-frying: vegetable oil
  • 225 gm (1½ cups) self-raising flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced to serve
  • 4 birdseye chillies, thinly sliced, to serve
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced, to serve
Tamarind hot sauce
  • 85 ml light soy sauce
  • 70 ml coconut vinegar (see note)
  • 70 ml Sriracha sauce
  • 50 gm tamarind purée
  • 50 ml sweet soy sauce
  • 50 gm chilli jam (see note)
  • 40 gm gula melaka (dark palm sugar), finely chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped


  • 1
    Combine chicken ribs, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil and five-spice in a non-reactive container, ensuring ribs are completely coated, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • 2
    For tamarind hot sauce, whisk ingredients in a bowl to combine, refrigerate until required. This will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.
  • 3
    Heat vegetable oil in a deep saucepan over high heat to 180C. Place flour in a bowl and season to taste. Dip ribs in egg, then flour, shake off excess and deep-fry in batches until golden brown and crisp (5-6 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on paper towels, season to taste with salt, then combine ribs in a large bowl with tamarind sauce and coat well. Serve hot, scattered with kaffir lime leaves, chillies and spring onions.


Note Chicken ribs are pieces of bone-in breast; they're available from poultry shops or butchers. You can also substitute chicken wings. Coconut vinegar is available from Asian grocers. Gingerboy makes its own chilli jam; we used shop-bought.