Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬

Chinese Black bean Spareribs 豉汁蒸排骨

A few weeks ago, I completely forgot that I had pre-ordered Zelda: Breath of the Wild. So as you can imagine, once I saw that was in the mail I had to dedicate time to exploring the new map of Hyrule and defeat Calamity Ganon. I can now proudly say that the quest is done and peace is now restored in Hyrule.

Now back to the Chinese recipe series, my dad suggested that I post up our family’s recipe for Black Bean Spareribs (豉汁蒸排骨 dow see meen pai gwut). Now this is a recipe that can be commonly found throughout the internet and in most Chinese restaurants, yet I find the flavour of the home-cooked dish is never replicated outside. After reviewing the many recipes I could find on Google, I realized this is because we add and modified many things from the bare bones recipe which gives it the depth that I’m familiar to. This recipe is probably one of the most common dinner dishes we have in the family and one my whole childhood was practically built on.

When I was younger and eating dim sum was a much more regular activity, my grandparents would always order me black bean spareribs on rice. Back in the day, pretty much all dim sum restaurants in Toronto were push-cart style; you can order anything that was on the cart. You would usually wait for the push-cart lady to come by your table and ask you whether you wanted something from their collection – albeit for one exception, the rice cart. Now as a child, it was always a spectacle to see the rice cart come out; the Chinese people in the restaurant swarm that cart as if they were handing out gold and frantically waves their order slip in the poor push-cart lady’s face. My grandfather would always mock them and say “Why would you fight for rice? They make themselves look poor”.

I dunno man, that rice was delicious. *shifts eyes*

Wayne Chong

Grandpa looks like a straight G. Y’know what I’m sayin?

Now luckily for me, my grandfather was such a regular customer at the restaurant that they would allow us to skip the line and grab whatever rice dishes we wanted straight out of the kitchen. The salty punch from the fermented black beans along with the juiciness of the pork spareribs is so simple and delicious, it was always a favourite dish of mine.

At home, black bean spareribs transforms into a dish with a greater depth and complexity. Although it would taste similar to the restaurant, it has an “oompf” of flavour that would make my taste buds pop. With ingredients like ginger, whiskey, chili and garlic, the flavour is absolutely scrumptious. The best part is that the gravy that develops from the ribs is packed full of flavour and goes perfectly on a steaming bowl of rice. I’m really excited to share this dish with you and hope you make it.

In this version of the recipe, we use taro as both the starch to make the dish more filling, but also as a way to keep the ribs from sticking to the bottom of the pan. I’ve seen restaurants use pumpkin/squash to line the bottom of the pan as well if no taro was used. This is an optional ingredient and can be left out if you wish.

This dish yields enough food for six people or a family of four and some leftovers for lunch the next day.

Fermented Black Beans

The “special” ingredient in this post has to be the fermented black beans. The name of the ingredient is a bit of a misnomer, a more accurate name would be Fermented Salted Black Soy Beans. These beans smell incredibly pungent and and almost rotten in smell, but it lends itself a complexity in flavour that can never be replicated with salt alone. A common usage of Fermented black beans are in a lot of  Chinese dishes to add flavour and ‘sweetness’ to the dishes. I personally have seen black beans paired with beef, chicken, pork and even heartier fish. It’s a very versatile seasoning ingredient that you can find in many Asian homes.

Fermented Black Beans

A cardboard cannister of Fermented Black Beans. Photo from http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2012/04/chinese-fermented-black-beans.html

A little warning though, a little of this stuff can go a long way. My recommendation (and also the cheapest) method is to go to a Chinese supermarket and buy it there. Anywhere else, they’re likely overcharging you.

Ingredients for Chinese Black bean Spareribs 豉汁蒸排骨

Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

Ingredients needed for the Black Bean Spare Ribs

  • 2.5 lbs of Spare Ribs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of fermented Black Beans
  • 1 lbs of Taro Cubes (Optional)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp whiskey
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • A knob of ginger, about the size of your thumb
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp Tapioca or Cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp of crushed black pepper

Special Equipment

Instructions for Black Bean Spareribs Recipe 豉汁蒸排骨

  1. Prepare the spareribs. Most of the time when you buy it from your grocer, they’ll give you large slabs of spareribs uncut. To prepare it at home, you’ll want to remove the silver skin off the the back of the ribs (using a paper towel for gripping is useful) and then cut it up between the bones to get bite-sized pieces.
    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    Cut the silver skin off of the back of your spareribs before sectioning them off into bite-sized pieces.

  2. Prepare the taro. Cut off the skin of a taro piece that is about 1 lb in size and then cut it up into 1.5 inch cubes. Try to make sure the pieces are consistent in size.
  3. Julienne your ginger into thin slivers for topping at the end
    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    Slice up your ginger into thin pieces and then julienne them into thin strips. Watch your fingers!

  4. Then peel and crush the garlic to mince it into small pieces or run it through a garlic crusher.
    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    Crush your garlic. If you have a garlic crusher, you can use that. If not, finely dice it up.

    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    Use a garlic crusher if you have one.

  5. Cut up the chili pepper into small pieces.
    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    You can add more chili peppers if you like more heat. This is purely to taste.

  6. With the back of your knife or mortar and pestle, crush the fermented black beans until it breaks down into smaller chunks.
    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    We make quick work of the bean paste by using the back of the knife instead of transferring it into another bowl, but do be careful to not cut yourself.

  7. Throw in the soy sauce (only half of the required), sugar, black pepper, chili, garlic powder, whiskey, chicken stock powder and garlic and continue crushing until you get a nice paste going.
    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    Throw in all of the ingredients for the paste together and mix.

  8. Pour the sesame oil, whiskey and the remainder of the soy sauce on top of the spareribs and mix.
    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    Pour these ingredients on top of the spareribs and toss until all of the pieces are coated.

    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    And mixed!

  9. Pour the black bean sauce on the pieces of spareribs and toss together until well covered.
    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    Pour the paste and continue mixing until all of the pieces are well coated.

  10. Mix the Tapioca or Cornstarch with the ribs and continue mixing. The starch will help keep the ribs nice and moist and help thicken the gravy that will develop in the dish.
    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    This is what helps keep the ribs moist and also helps thicken the sauce.

  11. Line the bottom of your steaming dish with the taro pieces and then layer on the ribs on top of that. I’ve shown a picture of the layers of the dish below.
    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    Again, the taro is optional but it works nicely in this dish. Also, taro is crazy cheap certain times of the year 39 cents a pound, so grab some!

  12. With a pinch of salt, toss it on top of the ribs along with the julienned pieces of ginger.
    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    Isn’t it pretty?

  13. Fill your wok with some water and put your steaming rack inside. Put your stove on high and when it comes to a rolling boil, put the dish in there and let it cook for 30 minutes.
    Chinese Black Bean Spareribs, 蒸排骨和黑豆醬, 豉汁蒸排骨

    This is the money shot of the shoot that day. The light perfectly glosses over the pieces of meat, yummm

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this recipe and do let me know if you make it.

Until we dine again,

– The Piquey Eater

Print-Friendly Version of Black Bean Spareribs Recipe

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Chinese Black Bean Spareribs Recipe 豉汁蒸排骨
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 6
  • Calories: 457
  • Fat: 45
  • Carbohydrates: 2
  • Sugar: 3
  • Sodium: 397
  • Protein: 29
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A traditional recipe for Chinese Black Bean Spareribs or 豉汁蒸排骨
Ingredients
  • 2.5 lbs of Spare Ribs
  • 1½ tbsp of fermented Black Beans
  • 1 lbs of Taro Cubes (Optional)
  • 1½ tbsp of Light Soy Sauce
  • 1½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1½ tsp of garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp whiskey
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • A knob of ginger, about the size of your thumb
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp Tapioca or Cornstarch
  • 1½ tsp sugar
  • 1½ tsp of crushed black pepper
Instructions
  1. Prepare the spareribs. Most of the time when you buy it from your grocer, they'll give you large slabs of spareribs uncut. To prepare it at home, you'll want to remove the silver skin off the the back of the ribs (using a paper towel for gripping is useful) and then cut it up between the bones to get bite-sized pieces.
  2. Prepare the taro. Cut off the skin of a taro piece that is about 1 lb in size and then cut it up into 1.5 inch cubes. Try to make sure the pieces are consistent in size.
  3. Julienne your ginger into thin slivers for topping at the end
  4. Then peel and crush the garlic to mince it into small pieces or run it through a garlic crusher.
  5. With the back of your knife or mortar and pestle, crush the fermented black beans until it breaks down into smaller chunks.
  6. Throw in the soy sauce, sugar, black pepper, sesame oil, garlic powder, whiskey, chicken stock powder and garlic and continue crushing until you get a nice paste going.
  7. Pour the black bean sauce on the pieces of spareribs and toss together until well covered.
  8. Mix the Tapioca or Cornstarch with the ribs and continue mixing. The starch will help keep the ribs nice and moist and help thicken the gravy that will develop in the dish.
  9. Line the bottom of your steaming dish with the taro pieces and then layer on the ribs on top of that. I've shown a picture of the layers of the dish below.
  10. With a pinch of salt, toss it on top of the ribs along with the julienned pieces of ginger.
  11. Fill your wok with some water and put your steaming rack inside. Put your stove on high and when it comes to a rolling boil, put the dish in there and let it cook for 30 minutes.