Comfort Cooking

Covid-19 stay-home recipe: Savoury fried ribs

Wondering what to cook today? In this daily series, STFood Online Editor Hedy Khoo whips up easy eats to try at home

For flavourful har cheong (prawn paste) ribs, marinate the meat for four hours.
For flavourful har cheong (prawn paste) ribs, marinate the meat for four hours.ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

For a twist, why not cook har cheong ribs instead of the usual har cheong gai (prawn paste chicken)?

Get a good cut of meat, like prime ribs.

Har cheong is made from fermented shrimp. Shrimp paste is characteristically salty with a strong pungent seafood flavour.

For balance, I use ginger juice and ground spices to marinate the meat. Ginger juice also tenderises the meat.

Sand ginger powder (sha jiang fen in Mandarin) is aromatic. It is not commonly found in supermarkets or provision shops. I found it at Kwong Cheong Thye's retail shop in Geylang.

The powder is nice to have, but if you can't get any, it is fine to leave it out.

Marinating the meat for four hours should be sufficient for the meat to soak up the flavours.

If you intend to marinate it overnight, cut back on the shrimp paste as the meat may get overly salty.

Deep-fry the ribs over medium-low heat so that the meat can cook through evenly without getting burnt.

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600g prime ribs, cut into pieces 5cm in length

1½ Tbs ginger juice (from 60g fresh ginger)

¼ tsp Chinese rose wine

2 Tbs Chinese rice wine

1 tsp sand ginger powder (optional)

2 tsp five spice powder

⅓ tsp ground white pepper

2 Tbs prawn paste

3 Tbs water

3 Tbs corn flour

Cooking oil for deep frying

3 limes, halved (for garnish)



1. Wash and rinse the ribs. Place them in a deep dish.

2. Add the ginger juice, Chinese rose wine and Chinese rice wine. Mix well.

3. Use a thin skewer to lightly pierce each piece of meat. This allows the marinade to better penetrate.

4. Add the sand ginger powder, five spice powder, ground white pepper.

5. Wear gloves and massage the ground spices into the ribs.

6. Add the prawn paste, water and corn flour.

7. Mix well and massage into the meat.

8. Cover in clingwrap and let it marinate in the fridge for four hours.

9. Heat enough oil to deep-fry the ribs.

10. Do not fry too many pieces at one time to avoid the ribs sticking together. Fry over medium-low heat until golden brown.

11. Place on kitchen paper to remove excess oil. Serve hot with limes at the side.

Serves three to four

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2020, with the headline 'Savoury fried ribs'. Subscribe