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Sticky Asian Beef Ribs on a wooden plate on a bed of rice, garnished with radish and herbs
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4.43 from 7 votes

Asian Style Sticky Beef Ribs

These beef ribs are soft, sticky, salty and sweet, and deeply flavored with soy, ginger and star anise. They also take a mere 5 minutes to get into the oven, making them them your next low-fuss dinner party hit.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs 35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: asian style sticky beef ribs, sticky beef ribs
Servings: 6
Calories: 338kcal


  • 2.6 lb beef ribs 1.2 2lb 10oz, I use ones which are meaty and about 6 inches long, but the equivalent of shorter-cut ribs is fine
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup dark soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and squashed
  • 1 piece ginger a piece about 1"/2.5cm, sliced
  • 3 star anise whole
  • 1 red chilli sliced (or a couple of whole dried chillies)
  • ½ cup water


  • Mix everything except the meat in a baking dish or deep tray. Put the meat in, turn to coat and marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours (note: the time I used beef cheeks, I didn’t have time to marinate and they were still really great. I think the same would apply to the ribs as they spend quite a while in the oven sucking up all those flavours). You’ll find the marinade doesn’t totally cover the meat but that’s fine.
  • When you’re ready to cook, set your oven to 120⁰C (combination steam). If your oven has variable steam settings, use 60-80%. If not, don’t worry! Just set to combination steam at the correct temperature and the oven will take care of the humidity for you.
  • Cook for about 3 ½ hours, turning the meat over a couple of times during cooking (I start the ribs bone-up, then make sure they’re turned meat/fat side up for the last hour or so, for the fatty top layer to get nice and melting). If your steam oven isn’t plumbed, you will probably have to top up the water once or twice during cooking.
  • The dish is done when the meat will easily shred with a fork. Serve with steamed rice and greens, and extra sliced fresh chilli and cilantro leaves.


  1. The ribs I buy are what I would call ‘full’ ribs rather than short ribs – they’re about 15cm/6in long and quite meaty, with a good covering of fat on the top, and I use four to make up the weight required. If short ribs are easier for you, use those and allow around an hour less cooking time.
  2. I’ve made this with both beef ribs and beef cheeks. For cheeks, you will likely need to cook for longer, up to about 4-4 1/2 hours. For this quantity of sauce I use four beef cheeks about 10oz/300g each, cut in half. Because they have no bones (and are very rich) you’ll get more portions.
  3. If you want to make ahead, you can fully cook this dish, pop it in the fridge for up to 3 days and just reheat when you’re ready to serve. It freezes well too. For freezing I generally shred all the meat from the bones, discarding the excess fat and connective tissue, and put it into double zip lock bags with the sauce. This makes for easy defrosting and serving on a busy night.
  4. We like to eat our ribs with steamed rice to soak up the sauce, and a herby salad.


Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 1181mg | Potassium: 617mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 71IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 4mg