Capital spare ribs, often called Peking ribs, is a tasty Chinese takeaway dish that’s beloved by many worldwide. If you’ve never tried it, one bite into this sweet and savoury will immediately make you a fan!
In this post, we’ll share how to make it, cooking tips, variations on the dish, and more. We’ve tasted countless Peking ribs recipes, and we’re certain this is the best one.
What is it made of?
Capital spare ribs are made of spare ribs and capital sauce, otherwise known as Peking sauce. After marinating, cooks double fry the pork meat before finally smothering them in Peking-style sauce once again.
Sometimes you will find that the dish includes sauteed vegetables like onions and peppers. Many people also eat this protein-rich side dish with rice.
What is Capital sauce?
Capital sauce is a sweet and spicy marinade similar to a barbecue marinade. Similarly, you can enjoy it as a dip, marinade, or rub.
You can make Peking sauce in many ways. However, the marinade’s recipe usually has garlic and some variation of soy in it. Therefore, this Asian mix tastes fantastic on many types of meat, like pork, duck, chicken, and beef.
Capital spare ribs are sweet, savoury, and tangy. However, you can easily spice them up with red pepper flakes if you prefer spicy flavours. As for texture, the outside of the meat is crispy, but the inside is tender.
There are about 494 calories in one serving of Peking ribs. That may seem high, but it’s a filling dish, so you don’t need to eat much.
Capital spare ribs vs BBQ
The two dishes are very similar, but Peking ribs use capital sauce while barbecue ribs use barbecue sauce. Both of the marinades have many variations but are rooted in the same base ingredients.
As mentioned, you usually prepare capital sauce using soy and garlic. Meanwhile, you typically make a barbecue sauce with vinegar and some type of tomato ingredient.
Capital spare ribs require particular ingredients to achieve their signature taste. So, read on to learn the main ingredients you need, where to buy them, and what you can substitute if necessary.
Spare ribs are ribs that come from the belly of a pig. You can make this recipe with other meat types, like baby back ribs or even other cuts of pork, but it’ll taste best when made with spare ribs.
This is because this section contains lots of meat, and when cooked slowly, are very tender. Fortunately, you can find any of these meats at your local butcher or grocery shop.
Many types of cooking wine will work for this recipe. We suggest either Shaoxing wine, Chinese rice wine, or dry cooking sherry.
You can usually find Shaoxing wine and Chinese rice wine at Chinese markets or online. Meanwhile, you should be able to source dry cooking sherry at your local market.
Garlic is essential to the capital sauce. It provides the marinade with its unique and robust flavour profile.
Soy sauce is also essential to the capital sauce, and you can buy it at any grocery store. Tamari or liquid aminos are suitable substitutes if necessary.
You only require a small amount of sesame oil for this dish. Any oil will suffice as a substitute, but it will slightly affect the taste.
The red colour of Chinese spare ribs in Chinese takeaways come from red food colouring. If you would like to recreate this at home add ½ teaspoon red food colouring.
Alternatively, you can also add ketchup but this would make the dish sweeter. Our recipe will use ketchup to give it some colour and sweetness.
You can easily be adapt the recipe to accommodate your personal taste. For example, some of our favourite variations are:
- Fried Chicken in capital sauce: Instead of pork, try making this recipe with chicken. It’s just as delicious too!
- Dry spare ribs: This is a unique way to change the dish just a bit, giving it a slightly different texture.
If you’re in the mood for other Chinese takeaway dishes, some of our favourites are:
- Chinese lemon chicken: This tangy, citrusy chicken dish is simple and tastes incredible.
- Chicken and sweetcorn soup: You’ll love this hearty soup on a cold night. It is also considered a healthy dish for those feeling under the weather.
- Jing du style spare ribs: This is a slightly different variation of capital spare ribs, but still delicious.
Make sure you’re double frying to get the most out of this recipe. Double frying refers to the step of frying the meat once, then letting it cool down before finally frying it again.
This technique is imperative to achieve a crispy texture. Therefore, make sure you don’t skip this step when trying out this recipe!
Capital Spare Ribs Recipe
- 2 lbs spare ribs cut 1-inch pieces
- 1½ tbsps cooking wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoon ketchup
- 4-5 cloves minced garlic
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 green onions
- Sesame seeds
- Oil for fying
- Marinate the ribs in cooking wine, salt, pepper, cornstarch, and egg for 1 hour.
- While they are marinating, make your sauce. Mix ketchup, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil in a small bowl.
- In a wok, heat enough oil to fully cover the meat over medium heat until just boiling.
- Cook the meat until they turn light brown, then remove from the oil. Let rest, wait for the oil to heat, then cook again until golden brown. Remove the meat from the oil and let rest.
- Over medium heat, cook the sauce until simmering.
- Add the fried meat into the sauce, and cook until they are fully coated.
- Garnish your Capital spare ribs with green onions and sesame seeds.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
Not confident with the recipe? If so, do not fret as Chef Hsu on Youtube has a detailed walkthrough video on how to prepare this Peking-style dish at home! Check out his video recipe to learn the whole process before you attempt it yourself.
How did your homemade Chinese fakeaway dish turn out? Share with us photos of your fakeaway masterpieces by tagging us on Pinterest @honestfoodtalks!