Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Bean Recipe

Fakegf’s dad and mom came to visit Melbourne a few weeks ago. You could call them my fake-in-laws… hahaha!!

Steam Spare Ribs Black Bean 01

I spent half a day with them. We brunched in Brighton and had sweets in St Kilda. Fake mother-in-law then taught us how to wrap bak chang (bamboo wrapped glutinous rice dumplings). In the end, I’ve decided that making bak chang should be left to the pros, my dumplings did NOT look like dumplings.

Steamed Spare Ribs w Black Bean 5839

I also brought all my Chinese herbs over and had a lesson from fake father-in-law on their properties and how to use them. Such a pleasure learning from someone with a Hong Kong background. I now have a number of Canto-style dishes that I’m eager to cook and share with you… perfect for Winter!

But let’s start off with something less complicated. I always enjoy ordering steamed pork ribs with black bean at yum cha sessions. And guess what? They are quite easy to recreate at home. Key ingredient is dried fermented black beans, which can be found at your Asian grocer’s.

Black Bean Spare Ribs 1

Fake father-in-law conveyed the recipe to me verbally and I gave it a go one afternoon. Turns out his recipe is pretty similar to mom’s recipe, except mom uses ginger juice and she soaks the black beans in hot water for 5 mins before using.

First, pound the hard ingredients with a mortar and pestle (or chop finely with a knife). Then create a marinade mixture with soya sauce, sugar, chinese wine and corn flour. Play around with proportions.

Black Bean Spare Ribs 2

Rub everything into the meat, marinate for a few hours, then arrange in a monolayer on the tray. For variation, you may want to add a sprinkle of chopped chillies to give the dish a kick.

Black Bean Spare Ribs 3

Steam for 10-12 minutes and serve. You can go fancy using bamboo steamers or a big wok with lid, but I’m practical and my non-stick pan with lid serves its purpose perfectly for a dish of this size. Less hassle cleaning. If you don’t have a steaming rack to elevate the dish off the water, use an upturned bowl or plate.

I’ll now share with you the recipe. Hope you enjoy it, there will be more coming!

Steamed Black Bean Spare Ribs

Serves 2

Pound/chop till quite fine:
1 tbsp black beans
2-3 cloves garlic

Small lump of ginger
 (half a thumb size)
1-2 tsp chopped red chilli (optional)

Mix together:
1 tbsp Chinese wine
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp corn flour
1 tsp soya sauce

  • Rub the above two mixtures into 400g pork ribs
  • Allow to marinate for a few hours, preferably overnight
  • Arrange in a shallow tray, do not stack the pieces
  • Steam on medium heat for 8-12 minutes
Steamed Spare Ribs w Black Bean 5885

It’s important that you don’t over-steam this dish for too long, otherwise the meat will be tough. An alternative would be to braise the pork ribs in a slow cooker or pressure cooker. You’ll need to adjust the sauce mixture proportions to make it more saucy, but the longer cooking time will soften the meat.

Mum also makes a (Nyonya/Hokkien?) version using red chillies, taucheo (preserved soya beans) and lime. I grew up eating that version, it’s very yummy. I might share that with you in future.

For more comforting home recipes, check out my Recipes Section.