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Chef Jon Ashton, Crispy Asian Ribs

Prep Your Pantry as this Week’s Menu Brings the Heat and the Sweet

Make sure to add plenty of napkins to your shopping list this week as you prepare for the upcoming episode of Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton. Virtually visiting the sizzling markets and eateries of Asia, our culinary adventure continues with a sticky, sweet, spicy, lip-smacking and perhaps even finger-licking entree: crispy Asian ribs. And while the process involves multiple steps (Chef Jon recommends you read ahead and perhaps begin rib preparation the night before), the end result rewards with even more complex flavors that will have you ready to plan your next Far East vacation.

Like every episode of these live demonstrations with one of our favorite guest chefs, this week’s featured cuisine conjures memories of favorite meals and flavors aboard Crystal ships. It doesn’t matter if you prefer the family style selections of Silk Kitchen & Bar, the tableside skewered goodness of Churrascaria, or the scrumptious sashimi sliced to precise perfection by Nobu-trained chefs in Umi Uma. Any and all of these – plus the host of other dining experiences offered on board – are designed to collectively create a palate that simultaneously expands your horizons with new flavors and instantly makes you feel right at home.

As we prepare for this Sunday’s episode of Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton, we’re thinking of all the flavors to discover around the world, and the unforgettable voyages that will make these discoveries possible. Until then, gather your ingredients, then join us in the kitchen LIVE this Sunday, June 21 at 3 p.m. ET on the Crystal Facebook page.

Crispy Asian Ribs
By Chef Jon Ashton


3 racks of baby back ribs
8 peeled and smashed garlic cloves
½ cup sliced fresh ginger
6 scallions, thinly sliced white and green parts separated
4 star anise pods
1 ½ cups soy sauce
½ cup dry white wine
Zest and juice from 1 navel orange
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup cilantro stems
¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons canola oil 
6 minced garlic cloves
¼ cup minced ginger
2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
1 cup hoisin sauce

Crispy Coating:
Canola oil 
½ cup All-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch


Prepare ribs: Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs with a butter knife and a paper towel. Slice ribs into sections of two. 

Arrange the ribs standing up along the outer edge of the Instant Pot or pressure cooker, making a wall (ring) with the meat side of the ribs facing out. Continue with the remaining ribs, arranging them to make circles. Add the remaining 10 ingredients to the center of the pot and add enough water to fill up pot. Close lid and cook for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally.

Let ribs cool in fridge or in the pot for a few hours. I usually let mine cool overnight. This helps the ribs firm up.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat canola oil to medium-high. Add the minced garlic and ginger and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, ketchup and hoisin sauce and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, be sure to stir frequently, so sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat. Taste for seasoning. 

Heat a shallow frying pan with oil to 375 F.

Whisk the flour with the cornstarch. Working in batches, remove ribs from pot and dry and slice into individual ribs. Toss the ribs in the flour mixture and shake off the excess.

Shallow fry ribs, turning until each side until golden. Transfer the ribs to paper towels to drain briefly, then brush them with sauce and serve. 

Note: If you prefer not to deep fry, you can always remove the ribs, dry them and brush with sauce and cook under broiler to crisp up. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can braise the ribs in a covered roasting pan at 400 F for 2 hours. Be sure to cover the ribs with extra water to stop them from drying out. 

Serves 4-6 people 

Explore Asian destinations in Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and more. Learn about the ancient mysteries of Angkor Wat, the traditional spices of Penang, the timeless charm of Kyoto and, of course, the signature cuisines of each locale, aboard Crystal Cruises in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Crystal’s Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are. “Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton” represents the culinary excellence found aboard Crystal ships, as some of the greatest travel memories are created over the greatest meals.

Crystal invites travelers to book now and save with added peace of mind and flexibility as we look ahead to sailing together again.

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