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Savory and sweet, this marinade and glaze turn nearly any protein into a celebratory main course. However, I’ve found ribs make for a perfect outdoor BBQ. Typically I make this with spare ribs, but you could use any rib you find at your local meat market, including baby backs, as you see here.

Recipe for a two-pound rack of spare ribs (or baby backs)


  • ½ can coconut milk (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 large shallot or small onion, chopped
  • 2 TBS brown sugar*
  • 2 TBS fish sauce* 
  • Zest of 1 lime*
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 2 TBS)*
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 TBS ground cumin
  • 1 TBS ground coriander
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  • Reserved marinade
  • Remainder of can of coconut milk (about 6 oz.)
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 TBS honey
  • 1.5 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 TBS dark soy sauce*
  • 1-2 TBS chili pepper paste (like Sambal Oelek)*
  • ½ cup water

Marinating the Ribs

Combine all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and stir or whisk to combine. Cut the rack of ribs into two pieces, and place in a large ziplock bag or covered container.

Pour the marinade on top of the ribs and seal or cover. Let marinate in the fridge for 2-6 hours or overnight.

After marinating, remove the ribs to a plate, letting excess marinade drip back into the container. Reserve the marinade!

COOKING THE RIBS (2 methods)

Instant Pot Method

Place the rack inside the pot. Pour 1 cup water into the pot. Place ribs into pot.

Tighten lid on pot. Set vent to sealed position. Choose “PRESSURE COOK” and set timer for 20 minutes. 

Let pressure build, then cook for 20 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes.

Remove ribs to a cutting board. Slice into individual ribs. Proceed to glazing step.

Oven Method

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Place marinated ribs on a baking sheet or tray lined with foil (or parchment paper). 

Cover tray with foil and bake for 2 hours. Remove ribs to a cutting board. Slice into individual ribs. Proceed to gazing step.

Making the Glaze

Pour reserved marinade into a small saucepan. IMPORTANT: Bring to a boil, let boil 3 minutes. (This will kill any bacteria that might have crept in.)

Reduce heat to low, add coconut milk, peanut butter, honey, Worcestershire sauce, dark soy, and chili pepper paste. Stir to combine. Then add 1/2 cup water and simmer for 5 minutes.* Remove from heat until the glazing step.

Glazing and Caramelizing the Ribs

Turn on broiler in oven or toaster oven, on low setting if available. Place separated ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Generously spoon the glaze on the ribs, turning them so that every surface is covered in glaze. Broil 4-6” from element: 4 minutes for the first side. Turn the ribs and broil 3 minutes for the second side.

Serve with remaining glaze on the side and ENJOY! (Lime wedges and crumbled peanuts can also be served as a garnish.)

Recipe Notes

  • You can use dark or light brown sugar, Indian jaggery, coconut sugar, or white sugar with a drop of molasses added.
  • If you don’t have fish sauce (a common ingredient in Thai cooking), just substitute regular soy sauce, or you could use 1/4 tsp anchovy paste.
  • You can use the zest of a lemon instead, or leave it out.
  • You can use the juice of a lemon, 2 Tbs vinegar, or bottled lemon or lime juice.
  • Dark soy sauce is a Chinese invention, and it has molasses added to it. If you don’t have it, use 1/2 Tbs regular soy sauce and 1/2 Tbs molasses.
  • You can use Sriracha, Harissa, or any other spicy chili paste, or 1Tbs crushed red pepper.
  • You want a thick BBQ sauce texture. If it is too thick, add more water. If too thin, just cook longer.

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