Sweet and spicy chicken ribs recipe

Posted on February 28, 2013


It’s no secret that I’m a little bit in love with Adam Liaw (winner of Masterchef series 2). One of the highlights last year was meeting him at the Food for Thought event. I really like his cooking style, he’s an eloquent speaker and just seems like a all round nice guy. I’ve picked up some good cooking tips/techniques from him on TV and at the event. For me, the most memorable dish he made was in the 2010 Masterchef series; the dish that never made it to air (for some reason channel ten accidentally edited his scene out in the final judgment). It was the seven deadly sins challenge where Adam picked the sin ‘wrath’ and produced the ‘angry bird’ dish. Even as he was describing the dish, I had decided he was onto a winner and have been meaning to track down and reproduce that recipe at some stage.

While I haven’t really gotten around to replicating it just yet, I have drawn inspiration from it and hence this sweet and spicy chicken ribs recipe. It was one of those scenarios where I wanted to make a chicken ribs version of Adam’s dish, but then realised I was missing most of the Korean ingredients, the onion and nashi pear his recipe required. So I decided to change it up – largely by using the Chinese versions of those Korean ingredients and omitting things that I didn’t have in the fridge/pantry. Also due to a vaguely sore throat at the time, I reduced the amount of heat to about a third. And lastly because I am super lazy at times, instead of cooking it over fire, I used the oven instead.


Because I haven’t tried Adam’s actual recipe, I can’t say how it compares. But this version is pretty good in its own right. It has been a snack/dinner request on a few occasions now and it even made it on my Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner menu where it quickly disappeared. Sweet and spicy flavours, meat on a bone; these factors alone make it destined to be a crowd pleaser.

RECIPE – Sweet and spicy chicken ribs


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon shaoxing rice wine
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon hot chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon chilli bean paste
  • 1 kg chicken ribs, preferably with skin on (the skin crisps up in the oven and provides more surface area for the marinade to cling onto – it really is quite tasty. Unfortunately the ribs photographed for this post were skinless as the poultry shop ran out of the ones with skin on.)


  1. In a large bowl, mix together ingredients for the marinade. Mix chicken ribs thoroughly with the marinade and set aside for at least an hour. Best left overnight in the fridge.IMG_6070
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  3. Arrange ribs on a large baking tray in a single layer with the skin side up. Pour marinade over the top. Place in hot oven and cook for ~25 minutes or until cooked through (If your ribs have skin on, use the oven fan as this will aid in the drying and crisping of the chicken skin. You will need less cooking time with the fan on).
  4. Serve immediately.IMG_6079

Given my approximation of Adam’s recipe tastes so good already, it’s a sure bet that the full recipe will be even better. One day I really need to get around to actually making his recipe :). Consider this as the first entry on my bucket list Georgia!