All you need to do is put everything in the slow cooker and wait a few hours to make these fall-off-the-bone ribs. The broth created in the slow cooker can also be made into a scrumptious BBQ sauce!
It has been 1 year and 3 months since I moved from China to Austin, Texas. So far, I’ve learned how to roast vegetables in the oven, how to grill food over charcoal, and how to bake dessert – many things that we don’t do in China.
Getting a slow cooker is just a baby step towards my Americanization process. I was always skeptical about the whole concept. I didn’t understand why people would want to cook a dish in 8 hours if they could do it in 2 hours, on the stove top or in the oven. Until my friend explained it to me – the slow cooker is very convenient for busy moms or people who have full-time day jobs. They can throw in all the ingredients in the morning and get warm dinner once they get home.
That makes sense!
Finally, I decided to find out what the fuss was about this cooking device. I purchased a CuisinArt Slow Cooker. And set it on the shelf for 3 months and totally forgot about it.
The other day when I saw Diana Kuan’s Chinese Pork Ribs with Plum Preserves, I started drooling and suddenly remembered my slow cooker.
If you haven’t heard of Diana, she is a Chinese cooking expert, a cooking teacher, and the author of The Chinese Takeout Cookbook – one of the most popular Chinese cookbooks on Amazon. You can find a lot of delicious Chinese recipes from her blog, Appetite for China, too.
To make these pork ribs, I slightly altered the ingredient ratio and threw in extra spices to make it even more flavorful. The cooking couldn’t be easier. I put everything into the slow cooker and turned it on low. After 8 hours, the succulent ribs were ready, with a super flavorful broth that can be reduced directly into a BBQ sauce. What magic! I can’t believe I waited until now to try out my slow cooker.
To serve along side these ribs, try out my restaurant-style mashed potatoes and Roasted Green Beans with Garlic Soy Glaze. Other recommended sides include Five Spice and Garlic Roasted Potatoes, Miso Glazed Carrots, and Crispy Baked French Fries.
I recorded a short video to show you how easy it is to cook this dish. Find more videos to learn Chinese cooking on my YouTube channel!
If you make this dish, don’t forget to take a picture and tag @OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see your work!
Which Chinese dish would you like me to cook in the slow cooker next time? Leave a comment below to let me know!
Slow Cooker Spare Ribs with Plum Glaze
- 1/4 cup plum jam
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce (or homemade hoisin sauce)
- 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder (or homemade five spice powder)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder (or paprika powder for a less spicy option)
- 4 pound (1.8 kg) pork baby back ribs
- 4 green onion
- 2 to 3 slices ginger
- 6 cloves garlic , crushed with knife
- 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or water)
- Combine the plum jam, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, five spice powder, and cayenne powder in a bowl. Stir to mix well.
- Place the pork ribs into the slow cooker, meat side down. Pour the sauce over the ribs. Add green onion, ginger, garlic, and chicken stock.
- Cover and cook on the low setting for 7 to 8 hours, or on the high setting for 3 to 4 hours.
- When the ribs are so tender that you can easily pull the meat from the bones, transfer them onto a big plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Drain the broth by using a fine colander to remove solid ingredients. Skim the fat from the broth and discard.
- Transfer the broth into a sauce pan. Cook over medium high heat until the sauce thickens, after 20 to 30 minutes. The sauce should reduce to about a third and be enough to cover a spoon. (*Footnote 1)
- Drizzle half of the sauce over the ribs. Serve the ribs with rest of the sauce on the side.
- You can also use a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce to make this process faster. To make cornstarch slurry, combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl. Stir to until the cornstarch is dissolved completely. Slowly drizzle to the broth and stir constantly. Simmer until the sauce thickens.
Questions and Reviews
Hi maggie, I made the slow cooker ribs with plum glaze for my wife and i. It was so good! The different flavors are amazing. This will definitely going into my menu rotation. I need to get a bigger slow cooker. I could not get the whole rack of ribs in the one I used.
Thanks for the recipe.
Hi Larry, thanks for the comment and happy to hear that you enjoyed the dish! I love the flavors go into the sauce too 🙂
If you’re looking for a new slow cooker, definitely get the oval shape one. It fits more ingredients on the bottom even it is the same size as the round bottom one.
Have a great week ahead Larry 🙂
These ribs are very good! HOWEVER–if you are going to reduce the sauce completely as noted, I suggest using low-sodium soy sauce, or it can range from too salty to nearly inedible. If you thicken it with cornstarch, you have more sauce.
is the plum jam any kind of plum jam or a specific chinese plum jam? thank you. love your recipes!
Any type of plum jam will work! Happy cooking 🙂
This recipe sounds pretty good. It is outside of my standard schtick, but the past two years have had me constantly break out of my comfort zone and test my limits. Chinese cooking has been the primary example; it sure beats and of the takeaways.
Nevertheless, would using fresh plums work with this recipe? If so, how many plums would suffice? I appreciate any help you can provide.
I think you totally can use plums, although I’m not sure if it will become a part of the sauce or simple becomes chunks in the sauce. I would try using 3 to 4 plums, chopped into bite-size pieces. Since fresh plums are a little less sweet, I would increase the hoisin sauce to 2 tablespoons to add some sweetness to the sauce.