• Yield: 4 servings and doubles easily

  • Time: 25 minutes prep, 2 hours, 30 minutes cooking, 24 to 48 hours total

Those dark plush flavors we love from meat stews don’t come from marinating the meat before cooking. They only deepen and become bold after cooking. So with these Chinese ribs of lamb (they could be pork, or short ribs) you loosely wrap the meat in foil with an intense sauce, do a low and slow roast and just leave them in the fridge for a day or two.


That’s it. Bowls of rice, the sauce, maybe a sesame cucumber salad, and everyone is licking their fingers with pleasure.


Cook to Cook: Talk about so good and so cheap, I can’t understand why lamb spareribs (a.k.a. breast) often end up in dog food. If you find them, stock up and know they may range in size from 1 to 2 pounds.


If you can’t find them, substitute pork ribs, butt, beef short ribs, chuck roast, lamb shoulder, or chicken thighs and the like.

The ribs can hold in the refrigerator for 4 days. They reheat well and freeze for up to 6 months.



  • 1-1/2 cups thin sliced radishes

  • 2/3 cup soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 8 large garlic cloves

  • 2-1/2-inch piece fresh ginger

  • 1/3 tight-packed cup brown sugar, or to taste

  • 1/4 cup cider or wine vinegar

  • hot sauce to taste

  • 1/2 cup bitter orange marmalade

  • 1 star anise, or 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoon of anise seeds, bruised

  • 3 to 4 pounds whole lamb breast (s) (aka spareribs)


1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a 2 to 3-inch deep large roasting pan with a double layer of heavy foil. In a food processor combine all the sauce ingredients except the star anise. Puree until smooth. Taste for pleasing balance of flavors. Adjust to your taste.

2. Trim away all but a thin coating of fat from the lamb. Trim the sheer film away from the meat. Cut between the ribs to partially separate them and lay them meat side down in the pan. Pour in the sauce, add the star anise and loosely cover with the foil so it’s lightly sealed. You want some air circulation.

3. Roast for 20 minutes at 400ºF., or until the liquid is hot but not simmering. Turn the heat down to 225ºF. and roast another 2-1/2 hours. Keep the foil lightly sealed, but check every so often to be sure the liquid is hot, but not boiling. There can be the occasional bubble. By the end of the 2-1/2 hours the meat should be at 160ºF. on an instant reading thermometer.

4. Once the ribs are done, transfer them to a storage container, cover them with their liquid and refrigerate 1 to 2 days. Before reheating, lift off any fat. Gently reheat the meat, taking care not to overcook it. If the sauce seems weak kneed, remove the ribs (keep them warm) and boil down the sauce to enrich it. Serve with rice or Asian noodles, a vegetable stir fry, or with a salad.

Copyright 2011 Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.