Sweet and Spicy Ribs with crumbed mash balls

This week on Recipe for Success our student chef Ukonaye Mconi from Cape Town prepares Sweet and Spicy Ribs for James Gaag from La Calombe, Reuben Riffel speaks to Maps Maponyane about his Recipe for Success.


  • 1.5 kg Pork Belly Ribs
  • 4 L Cola
  • 2 L Water
  • 5 Juniper berries
  • 5 Cinnamon sticks
  • 5 Star Aniseeds
  • 2 Oranges (zested)
  • Crumbed Mash balls
    • 1 kg Potatoes
    • 2 Granny Smith Apples
    • 1 Bulb Garlic, finely chopped/minced
    • 150 g Spring onions
    • 50 g Chillies( Red) Deseeded, finely chopped
    • 40 g Corainder leaves, chopped finely
    • 40 g Mint, finely chopped.
    • 150 g Toasted sesame seeds
    • 100 g Flour
    • 3 Eggs (Large)
    • 200 g Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Basting Sauce
    • 500 ml Sweet soy sauce
    • 500 ml Sweet chilli sauce
    • 500 g Treacle sugar
    • 500 ml Lemon, juice, freshly squeezed
    • 10 Limes
    • 300 g Lemongrass
    • 125 g Sambal Oelek
  • Micro herbs for garnishing
  • 20 g Seasoning (salt & pepper)
  • 2L Oil for frying
  • 2g Smoked Paprika


  1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C.
  2. In a big stock pot, add the pork, cola, water, zest and spices.
  3. Bring to the boil for about 2 minutes then simmer till ribs are cooked.
  4. In a preheated oven (190˚C) add your potatoes with the skin on and sprinkle salt to draw out the moisture when baking, bake for an hour or until soft.
  5. In a saucepan, add all your ingredients for the basting sauce and bring to the boil then simmer till it thickens and concentrates. This takes 10- 17 minutes.
  6. Once the ribs are cooked, take them out of the cola stock and put them aside to dry or pat them dry with a bit of kitchen towel. Rub with smoked paprika.
  7. Check on your basting sauce, if it’s thick, switch off and set it aside. Take a basting brush and brush the sauce on the ribs before grilling them on hot coals and continuously basting them till stick and brown. Stain. Place them aside.
  8. Heat the oil for frying.
  9. Take the potatoes out of the oven, skin/peel them.
  10. Add the herbs, garlic and half of the spring onion to the potatoes that have been mashed.
  11. Mix everything evenly. Add 2 large eggs and seasoning and shape the mash into balls then place it in flower, egg and breadcrumbs. Fry till golden then into sesame seeds.
  12. Take some of the basting sauce and reduce further.
  13. Place ribs and mash balls as required, sprinkle sesame seeds, chillies and micro herbs.
  14. Drizzle the basting reduction over the dish.