Steamed Pork Spareribs in Black Bean Sauce


When I eat dim sum and go to yum cha, steamed pork spareribs with black bean sauce is certainly one of the dish that I always order. I always wonder how can they make it so tender and flavoursome. After research and trial and error. I’ve have came up with this ultimate recipe. Pork is similar to beef, it takes time to marinate and need lots of water for it to absorb in order to become tender if you are not braising it. Buying the meat fresh and cook on the same day is the best bet because it ensure it is fresh and tender. On the other hand, if you are freezing the meat, make sure you put another layer of wrapping over it to prevent freezer burnt. A freezer burnt meat will impact both taste and consistency of the meat.

Traditionally, whole black beans are used in this dish. However, they are hard to find and sometimes need to soak overnight. I’ve substituted with jarred Lee Kum Kee garlic black bean sauce which you can easily find in any Chinese grocery store.


1-1/2 lbs pork spare ribs (don’t get the long BBQ ribs, ask butcher to halved)  
2 cloves of garlic, chopped  
2 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
3 tbsp water     
1 tsp chicken powder    
2 tsp of Lee Kam Kee garlic black bean sauce 
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cooking oil 
1 tsp sesame oil 
2 tsp corn starch

few stalks of coriander, 1 red chilli & chopped spring onion for garnish

1) Cut the spareribs crosswise into 3-4 cm sections.

2) Combine all ingredients except oil, sesame oil and corn starch and mix evenly until all meat are coat with sauce. Set aside for 15 minutes.

3) Add in sesame oil then oil and mix well, lastly add corn starch little by little evenly and mix well with a spoon. Add 1 tbsp of water if you feel the meat is now too sticky and dry.

4) Transfer spareribs and sauce into a slightly shallow heatproof pan that will fit inside your wok. Cover with glad wrap and marinated in the fridge for 1-3 hours.

5) Set steaming rack inside of wok and fill with water almost up to the height of rack. Turn heat to high and when water is boiling, turn heat to medium-high and place pan with spareribs on top of the steaming rack in wok.

6) Steam on medium-high heat for 18-20 minutes until ribs are no longer pink and test with a toothpick to see juice run out is clear. Make sure that when you are steaming you don’t run out of water in the wok and adding additional water if required.

7) Garnish with coriander, spring onion and chilli and serve hot with jasmine rice.


The essential sauce, ignore the celery at the back =p


Best to marinate in the same dish as you are steaming so wash one thing less


Cover with glad wrap and marinated for 3 hours for best result  


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