Sweet, hot, and tangy, these ribs from chef Lara Lee are seriously delicious, and easy to make indoors — no grill or smoker required. Kecap manis is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce that forms the foundational sweet and tangy flavor, and sticky texture, of the glaze that coats each bite of these tender ribs. If kecap manis is unavailable, see Note below for a homemade version.


Credit: Louise Hagger

Recipe Summary test

30 mins
2 hrs 30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. In a food processor, puree the kecap manis, vinegar, sugar, chiles, garlic, shallots, ginger, and salt with 1/2 cup water until smooth.

  • Line a roasting pan lengthwise with two long sheets of foil. Line with 2 more long sheets crosswise, forming a cross, with 12 inches of overhang so there is enough to tightly wrap the ribs. Lay the ribs onto the foil. Pour over half the marinade (about 1 1/3 cups) and massage it into the pork (with gloved hands, if desired). Wrap the ribs up tightly with the foil. Bake in the oven for 2 hours.

  • While the ribs are baking, pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by more than half, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Carefully open the foil packet (steam will be released). Check if the ribs are done by tugging the end of one bone. The meat should start slipping off the bone. If they are not yet tender, cover with the foil and return to the oven and test every 10 minutes until done. Remove from the oven and turn the broiler on to high.

  • Line the baking sheet with a fresh sheet of foil and transfer the ribs from the packet to the foil. Using a pastry brush, dab about ¼ cup of the reduced marinade onto the ribs. Pour the remaining marinade into a small bowl to serve as the dipping sauce. Place the ribs under the broiler until they darken and caramelize in spots, 3 to 7 minutes. Cut between the bones into individual ribs. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.


If kecap manis is unavailable, substitute with a homemade sweetened soy sauce. In a small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup light soy sauce or tamari and 1/2 cup lightly-packed palm sugar or brown sugar to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until thickened to the consistency of maple syrup, 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool before using.

Adapted with permission from Coconut & Sambal by Lara Lee, copyright © 2020. Published by Bloomsbury. Photography copyright: Louise Hagger © 2020