Indonesian Inspired Pork Ribs: Spices and Seasons


My friend Cheng is a colleague I know from work, he like some of my other friends are confirmed foodies. As a coincidence or possibly because of some sub-conscious vested interest, I seem to pick foodie friends who can introduce me to foods or more specifically
spices from different cuisines and cultures. Cheng is from Hong Kong while his
wife is from Indonesia, and I was chatting with him about the cuisine of Indonesia, which he describes as strange since it combines curry and soy sauce.

This is not completely true, but the cuisine of Indonesia does merge far-eastern influences with what might be considered more traditional Indian spice influences. I sampled some of her cooking and have to tell you that I am completely hooked on to what she calls sweet soy sauce or Kecap ( pronounced KEH- chup) manis. It is a sweet thick caramel like sauce that is closer to molasses than soy sauce, at lease based on my knowledge of far-eastern
condiments. She had this recipe for spare ribs, which true to my style, I have fussed and adapted. This recipe almost does seem a little like soy sauce meeting Indian spices and I do not actually use spareribs but tend to use the thicker meatier ribs, usually sold as country style ribs. This marinade works well on chicken as well, and I try making it with chicken fairly often. I have found this condiment in Kam Sen markets in White Plains, and it is very versatile, I use this on a lot of things, however if you absolutely cannot get a hold of it you can substitute it with mollases.

I am not a huge meat eater, but feel that there is a time for everything. Possibly, if you give this interesting marinade a try, you might agree that firing up the grill for labor day with these Asian style ribs just might be the way to celebrate the last holiday of summer. Back to school creeps on us when we least expect it. I get into the routine a little late, but it does jolt and get me ready for my favorite season – Fall.

There is something crisp bright and colorful about the season that makes me happy, and keeps in in chirpy spirits.

So, now on to the recipe.

Indonesian Inspired Pork Ribs

Prep Time: Overnight mostly to
marinate the meat

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4 to 6


For the marinade

6 to 8 star anise

11/2 tablespoons whole black

½ tablespoon whole coriander seeds

½ cup kecap manis or sweet soy
sauce (can be substituted with molasses)

1/3 cup cooking wine or sherry

¼ cup light soy sauce

11/2 piece ginger, peeled

6 pods of garlic

3 pounds of country style pork ribs

Sesame seeds to sprinkle

Method of Preparation

  1. Place the star anise, black peppercorns, and the whole coriander seeds in a grinder and grind until nicely powdered.
  2. Place in a blender with the kecap manis, cooking wine or sherry, light soy sauce, ginger, garlic and blend until smooth.
  3. Place the mixture in a large non-reactive container. Add in the ribs and cover and keep in the refrigerator, overnight.
    It is good, if you can keep turning the meat occasionally but not absolutely essential.
  4. To cook, turn on the grill and place the ribs on a single layer on the grill. Cook the meat, turning and basting the meat every
    five minutes, until the meat is nice and crisp at spots and is well glazed and tender. This takes about 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Place on a serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.


Rinku Bhattacharya is a daytime financial professional, who spends the rest of her time immersed in food. Rinku is the author of the blog, Cooking in Westchester, where she shares her life experiences, original recipes that combine Indian spices with produce from her backyard and local farmers markets. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past six years, and has found her classes a great way to teach and learn.

Her cookbook the Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, is scheduled to be published in November 2012. Rinku can be found on facebook, twitter and pinterest















About Author

Rinku Bhattacharya, the Spices & Seasons blogger, loves meshing seasonal produce with fresh spices. Most of her recipes are inspired by her Indian heritage, and her cooking is practical, easy and well suited for a busy lifestyle on the go. As a mother with two young children, her recipes are also usually balanced and kid-friendly. Rinku is the author of the blog, Spice Chronicles (formerly,Cooking in Westchester), where she shares her life experiences and original recipes. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years. Rinku is the author of two cookbooks: The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles an award winning (Gourmand 2013) cookbook that highlights culture, memories and recipes from her childhood transformed where needed for her Lohud kitchen and Spices and Seasons that marries Indian flavors with local and seasonal produce. Rinku can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and is also a contributor for Zester Daily.


  1. Do you know if H Mart carries kecap manis? I don’t like Kam Sen; no one speaks English, and they are all very rude to this white boy.

  2. Sorry for the delay in responding, I actually wanted to visit them before I answere d you. They (H-Mart that is) do carry Kecap Manis, however, you need to peruse the aisles a little.

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