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Chinese Steamed Spare Ribs (with Black Beans)

Chinese Steamed Spare Ribs (with Black Beans)

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Chinese Steamed Spare Ribs (aka 豉汁蒸排骨) – This classic Chinese dish is made with fermented black beans aka douchi. This ingredient adds a delicious flavor to the gently browned and then steamed spare ribs!

What is Fermented Black Beans?

Fermented Black Beans aka Douchi (豆豉) is a type of fermented savory black soybean. They are used to flavor many Chinese dishes.

They are made by fermentting and salting black soybeans. This process causes the beans to soften and very flavorful (some will even call it pungent!). Because it’s salty, you do not need to add too much salt or soy sauce when cooking with douchi.

What type of pork spare ribs for Chinese Steamed Spare Ribs?

We usually go to the Asian super markets and they will already have cross cut pork ribs. If you buy them this way, you just have to cut them between the bones to make shorter ribs for this dish.

If you purchase bigger pork spare ribs, you will have to cut them manually to about 1-1.5 inchest.

How to steam the spare ribs?

There are several options for steaming such as wire rack with wok, bamboo steamers, rice cookers, and more!

Wire rack with Wok/Pot

This is the easiest way if you do not have bamboo steamer or rice cooker or instant pot. You can steam the pork in a heatproof pan/pot placed on a wire rack in a pot or wok.

To do this, place wire steamer rack in the center of a wok/pot. Add enough water so that it barely covers the rack.

Bring the water to a simmer, and place the heatproof pan/pot with spare ribs on rack, and cover to steam.

Bamboo Steamer with Wok/Pot

With bamboo steamers is one of the traditional ways of steaming in Chinese cuisine.

To do this, you will want to place the pork on a shallow bowl in the bamboo steamer, and cover.

The add about two inches of water to the wok.

Once the water is simmering, place the steamer basket over the pot.

If there are multiple layers of bamboo steamers, you can even steam multiple dishes at the same time (think veggie side dishes!)

Rice Cooker

This is the way I prefer to steam my spare ribs. You can use your rice cooker by placing the spare ribs in a heatproof dish or in the rice cooker pan (depends on what style your rice cooker is), and then adding water to the outside layer of the rice cooker and turn it on to steam.

Instant Pot

You can use the steam option on your instant pot. The Instant Pot comes with a Steam function already, but you can also use the Sauté functionality to boil water and steam the traditional method.

Other

I advice against using a collapsible metal steamer or perforated metal inserts for this dish, because they usually have holes in them, and we actually want to keep the juice with the spare ribs.

How to make Chinese Steamed Spare Ribs?

First, gather your ingredients:

  • 1 lb pork cross cut short ribs or pork spare ribs, cut in to 1-1.5 inches
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp michiu (aka rice wine)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp dried fermented black bean
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 inch of ginger, sliced
  • Red chili peppers, (optional)

Cut your spare pork ribs in to 1 to 1.5 inch pieces if you have no done so already.

In a large bowl, add cut pork ribs, light soy sauce, michiu, cornstarch, sugar and mix well, making sure all ribs are covered. Let it marinade for at least 15 minutes (up to overnight).

Rinse dried fermented black beans with water and place aside.

After marinating the pork, in a cooking pan, add cooking oil, ginger, black beans, and red chili peppers (optional) and stir fry for about a minute.

Add the pork ribs in and cook for about another minute, just for it to brown a little. Then remove from heat and transfer to steamable/heatproof bowl/pot/pan (depending on how you want to steam).

Steam which ever method you have selected (see my “How to steam the spare ribs?” section) for about 20 minutes or until ribs are cooked thoroughly. If you ever run out of water for steaming, you can add additional water as needed. (I’m steaming using my rice cooker, so I place the pork in to the rice cooker pot.)

Before steaming
After steaming

Remove from heat and serve!

Chinese Steamed Spare Ribs (with Black Beans)

Chinese Steamed Spare Ribs (with Black Beans)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork cross cut short ribs or pork spare ribs, cut in to 1-1.5 inches
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp michiu (aka rice wine)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp dried fermented black bean
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 inch of ginger, sliced
  • Red chili peppers, (optional)

Instructions

    1. In a large bowl, add cut pork ribs, light soy sauce, michiu, cornstarch, sugar and mix well, making sure all ribs are covered. Let it marinade for at least 15 minutes (up to overnight).
    2. While waiting, rinse dried fermented black beans with water and place aside.
    3. After marinating the pork, in a cooking pan, add cooking oil, ginger, black beans, and red chili peppers (optional) and stir fry for about a minute.
    4. Add the pork ribs in and cook for about another minute, just for it to brown a little. Then remove from heat and transfer to steamable/heatproof bowl/pot/pan (depending on how you want to steam).
    5. Steam which ever method you have selected (see my “How to steam the spare ribs?” section) for about 20 minutes or until ribs are cooked thoroughly. If you ever run out of water for steaming, you can add additional water as needed.
    6. Remove from heat and serve!

Notes

How to steam the spare ribs?

There are several options for steaming such as wire rack with wok, bamboo steamers, rice cookers, and more:

Wire rack with Wok/Pot

This is the easiest way if you do not have bamboo steamer or rice cooker or instant pot. You can steam the pork in a heatproof pan/pot placed on a wire rack in a pot or wok.

To do this, place wire steamer rack in the center of a wok/pot. Add enough water so that it barely covers the rack.

Bring the water to a simmer, and place the heatproof pan/pot with spare ribs on rack, and cover to steam.

Bamboo Steamer with Wok/Pot

With bamboo steamers is one of the traditional ways of steaming in Chinese cuisine.

To do this, you will want to place the pork on a shallow bowl in the bamboo steamer, and cover.

The add about two inches of water to the wok.

Once the water is simmering, place the steamer basket over the pot.

If there are multiple layers of bamboo steamers, you can even steam multiple dishes at the same time (think veggie side dishes!)

Rice Cooker

This is the way I prefer to steam my spare ribs. You can use your rice cooker by placing the spare ribs in a heatproof dish or in the rice cooker pan (depends on what style your rice cooker is), and then adding water to the outside layer of the rice cooker and turn it on to steam.

Instant Pot

You can use the steam option on your instant pot. The Instant Pot comes with a Steam function already, but you can also use the Sauté functionality to boil water and steam the traditional method.

Other

I advice against using a collapsible metal steamer or perforated metal inserts for this dish, because they usually have holes in them, and we actually want to keep the juice with the spare ribs.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 421Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 325mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 38g

The nutrition information for this recipe is an approximate total per serving. Please double check the nutrition information for your exact ingredients and brands for more precise nutrition information.

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