Julia's Fragrant Sticky Pork Ribs With Cabbage Slaw

There’s nothing like sticky pork ribs baked in a fragrant and punchy marinade that makes you want to smack your lips and lick your fingers. This is a meal that’s designed to be messy, and Julia Busuttil Nishimura‘s variety is no different!

Serve with a side of fresh and tangy cabbage slaw to counterbalance the richness of the ribs, and you’ve got yourself an instant favourite!

Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Julia’s fragrant sticky pork ribs with cabbage slaw! Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The best slaw in the business with two types of cabbage, radishes, spring onion and sesame seeds! Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

This tangy, fresh slaw is the perfect accompaniment to the sticky ribs. Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Julia Busuttil Nishimura
30th of August 2022

These ribs are marinated in a beautifully aromatic mixture, which becomes the most sticky and delicious coating as they bake in the oven. The key is marinating the ribs overnight and making sure they are turned once so are coated evenly as they marinate. Once the ribs are ready to be cooked, the marinade is transferred to a small saucepan and gently cooked, which then is used to baste the ribs as they bake.

Here, I’ve served them with a really tasty cabbage salad, which is very quick to put together and also looks lovely. I love how colourful it is with two types of cabbage. The dressing is tangy and creamy and coats the salad, pairing so well with the richness of the ribs. Dress the salad just before serving to avoid it going soggy. I like to eat these ribs with steamed Japanese short grain rice for a perfectly complete meal.

Glazed to perfection! Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Finger-licking good! Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

An instant family favourite. Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

With steamed Japanese short grain rice, to serve. Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Fragrant Sticky Pork Ribs With Cabbage Slaw

(Serves 4-6)

2.2kg American style pork ribs
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup sake
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
Juice and peel of an orange
2 tbsp sesame oil
3 cm piece ginger, finely grated
2 tsp white pepper
Sea salt

Cabbage salad

¼ white cabbage, shredded
¼ red cabbage, shredded
6 radishes, finely sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds

Yoghurt dressing

100 g kewpie mayonnaise
150 g natural yoghurt
Juice of a lemon
1 clove garlic, finely grated
Salt and pepper, to taste

Steamed Japanese short grain rice, to serve


Place the ribs in a large non reactive container or bowl. Combine all of the remaining ribs ingredients in a bowl with a good pinch of salt and mix to combine. Pour onto the ribs and massage so that they are all covered. Cover and let marinate in the fridge overnight, turning once.

Take the ribs from the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Lay the ribs onto baking trays, allowing a little space inbetween. Transfer any remaining marinade to a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat until slightly thickened.

Cook the ribs in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes, brushing them with the marinade every five minutes, or until all of the marinade is used up and the ribs are deep in colour and caramelising around the edges. If the ribs are cooked and not as sticky as you would like by the 30 minute mark. Increase the temperature to 220 C for the final two minutes.

Meanwhile, make the salad by combining all of the ingredients together into a large bowl. For the dressing, simply whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl and season to taste. Pour over the cabbage salad and toss to coat.

Cut the ribs into smaller portions, serve with the salad and some steamed rice.

What else I’m cooking…

I’m cooking a lot from my new cookbook, Around the Table, at the moment! High rotation is the potato and sage gallette, ricotta orange olive cake and the flapjacks for the kids’ lunchboxes!

What else I’m eating…

I was recently in Sydney on my book tour and had TWO great meals! First stop was a brand new restaurant called Club Fontana in Redfern which was fun and delicious – loved the Sardine polpette and pane fritto. Second, a beautiful dinner at Bistrot 916. Classic French fare like scallop quenelle and steak frites – everything was divine. Also loved the sautéed spinach. Yum, Sydney!

Click here to download recipe printout

Recent Food