Fiery Sulawesi pork ribs

2 hours 50 minutes


  • 2 racks of pork ribs, ideally baby back ribs

Bumbu spice paste

  • 5 Asian shallots, ideally red Asian shallots, peeled
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 red chillies, large, deseeded (or 3 for less heat)
  • 1 knob of ginger, 5cm in length, peeled
  • 2 tbsp of palm sugar, ideally gula jawa, shaved

Dabu dabu dipping sauce

  • 3 tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 red chillies, large, deseeded and finely sliced (optional)
  • 1 bird's eye chilli, finely sliced (optional)
  • 2 Asian shallots, ideally red Asian shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tsp palm sugar, ideally gula jawa, shaved
  • 1 tsp salt


Roughly chop the ingredients for the bumbu, then blend to a paste in a food processor. Add a little water to help it come together, if needed. Season generously with salt and black pepper
Use a small knife to remove the membrane from the underside of the ribs. Smear half the bumbu into the ribs and lay them in a shallow oven dish. Cover tightly with foil and leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours
Preheat an oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. Roast the ribs, still covered with the foil, for 2½ hours. Baste once or twice during cooking. The fat should have melted leaving the meat very tender
Meanwhile make the dipping sauce by combining all the ingredients and taste for heat, sweetness and tang
Heat a barbecue, grill or griddle pan until very hot. Grill the ribs on both sides until they start to char and caramelise, then smear over the remaining bumbu. Continue grilling until the sauce is dry and fragrant. Eat with your fingers, dipping into the dabu dabu as you go