Chinese Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce

Chinese Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce Recipe

When I eat dim sum, there are certain dishes that I always order – Cha Siu Bow (bbq’d steamed buns), Fung Jow (steamed chicken feet), Ha Gow (steamed shrimp dumplings) and Pai Gwut (steamed spareribs with black bean sauce.) If you are lucky enough to live near a large Asian supermarket that has a meat section, the pork rib tips are easy to find. You can also ask, beg, bribe your butcher to cut normal ribs cross-wise to get small 1-1/2″ riblets. If you live in the southeast part of the U.S. and have a chain supermarket called “Publix” – look for a package called “rib tips.”

Traditionally, whole black beans are used in this dish. However, they are hard to find outside of Chinese markets. I’ve substituted with jarred black bean sauce – which you can normally find in any supermarket ethnic section. This recipe only took about 5 minutes to prepare and 20-30 minutes to steam.

Chinese Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce


Chinese Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce

Servings: 4 as part of multicourse meal Prep Time: Cook Time:
Chinese Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce Recipe


1-1/2 lbs pork spare rib (rib tips)
2 tablespoons black bean sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger (on microplane grater)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar


Cut the spareribs crosswise into 1" - 2" sections. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Transfer spareribs and sauce into a shallow, heatproof pan that will fit inside your wok (a pie plate or 9” cake pan works great.) Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Set steaming rack inside of wok and fill with water almost up to height of rack. Turn heat to high and when water is boiling, turn heat to medium-high. Set pan with spareribs on top of a steaming rack in wok. Steam on med-high heat for 18-20 minutes until ribs are no longer pink. Make sure that when you are steaming that you don't run out of water in the wok. Replenish with additional water, if needed.

P.S. years ago, my mother gave me her beloved KitchenAid mixer. This dude, which I had named “Bob” is OLD and HEAVY. But I love Bob and he loves me back, dutifully churning, mixing and whipping on demand. Last week after baking my delicious Amish Friendship Bread (thank you Archana!), I was craving a loaf of french bread. I turned Bob on to knead the dough, and left the kitchen momentarily to bang my head against the wall and pluck my children off the chandelier.


Bob fell. Split head open. Guts and brain matter dangling.

But hey, after husband performed brain surgery and we duct taped his head back together, Bob was back in business. He finished kneading and we had warm, crusty bread for supper. I know I know. ::GROAN:: I already know what you’re thinking. I should have at least given Bob a few days to recover before forcing him back into labor. But I was hungry.

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Comments 99

  1. miss twist

    My mixer suffered the same fate as Bob, but seemed to be especially despondent as it performed a murder-suicide, taking the rice-cooker full of oatmeal with it.

    Husband performed the same brain surgery on my Kitchen Aid. He then marched right out and bought me the Kitchen Aid Pro series mixer to avoid exposing the patient to repeat procedures.

  2. Single Guy Chef

    Steamy Kitchen, that looks sooo good! You don’t have to worry about finding dim sum since you can just make it yourself! Bai gwat was my favorite growing up, but I always find it hard to eat and really get all the tender meat. I’m a lazy eater. Hey, all the great pai gwat I have were so tasty sweet. Not sugar sweet, just this nice sweetness. Do you think that was just the bones giving off a slow cooked sweetness or is there something in the sauce or marinade that makes it that nice sweetness?

    BTW, I always just cook with the jarred black bean sauce. I’m the busy single guy chef! No time for soaking and pounding my black beans! 😉

  3. stickygooeycreamychewy

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who names appliances. My Kitchenaid in called Rosie, because she is red. I won’t mention what my oven’s name is. It is unprintable because he is very tempermental!

  4. Gaby T.

    I also agree that people would buy your cook book even though the recipe’s are online. For reference see he’s published several books of his blog and done well for himself.

  5. Neece

    What About Bob?! Actually, I’ve heard that after brain surgery it’s very good to get right into rehabilitation and get back to work as soon as possible. So you did the right thing.
    Oh, and I’m sure most of your loyal readers would love to have the cookbook.

  6. rxgator

    This is one of my Mom’s favorites when she goes to dim sum. Sometimes she has me go track down the cart before it gets to our table. It’s the last thing I want to do when I visit her up in Toronto.

    I really appreciate that speed of this dish. It’s all in the prep and you just set things off to steam.

  7. Kitt

    I was at the butcher’s today and they had beef short rubs, which I had them cut into smaller pieces to try this with. I know, should’ve been pork, but I didn’t have the recipe with me. Think they’ll work?

  8. Meeta

    Believe me with these recipes we’d buy the cookbook even if you were giving out a few free flyers. All the best to you!

  9. Dee

    Thank you so much! I have been looking for this recipe for a the way..sorry about Bob.

  10. Junith

    Are these totally different black beans than I might find when I am in the Mexican section of foods or am looking in the bean section of the supermarket? I mean, they have Black Beans that are whole, already cooked, and in the can. Is this a different type of Legume? I have dried Black Beans here at the house (we do a lot of Mexican foods). Just wondering. Thanks, Junith
    P.S. Got the spice and can’t wait to use it. Everyone is sick, so the only stinkin’ thing cookin’ is canned chicken noodle soup that they want! Nothing else will tempt them right now.

  11. suki

    I have been to Hk too. As I know, the steam spareribs is not really a dim sum dish. They served it as a dim sum dish sometimes . It serves with rice in a pot. A famous dish for pot rice in winter need not to have streamer.. you may cook it with rice in a electrical cook. First, cook the rice until it start to steam then put the miranated spareribs on top of the rice.. wait for 10 mins… you will have sparerib with pot rice.
    My chinese friend told me, she cook it in the microwave with cover about 10-12 mins.. depend on the portion of the spareribs.. It is quick and easy dish

  12. d. kao

    Mrs. Jaden,
    I am a 16 year old chinese girl living in north carolina. I just wanted to tell you that my best friend is going to hong kong and I’ll never see her again, so i’m sending her off asian style by hosting a party with your amazing recipes! Thank you!

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  15. Sam F.

    Hi Jaden,

    I know that this post is a couple years old, but hopefully you still read the comments!

    I don’t (to my great shame) have a wok or a nice Asian steamer. Would doing this in a pot with a metal fan-style steamer do the trick? How would it affect the recipe?

    Thanks for the great looking recipe!

  16. SteamyKitchen

    All your juices will fall down the holes of the metal fan steamer. Just get a pot big enough to hold a shallow bowl. Then find something to prop the bowl up. I use 3 shot glasses!

  17. Sam F.

    Thanks! I use the same set-up when making a Moroccan steamed lamb dish, so I understand what you mean.

    Thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait to try it!


  18. Deb

    Just made this recipe, but with chicken wings! Wonderful, wonderful succulent sauce! Really incredible nuances of flavor here. I’ll be reheating it tomorrow for the CNY dinner, and I’m guessing that the flavors will be even better! Thanks Jaden, for your inspiration!

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  20. Joan

    Hi! I really like your recipes, but I can’t find the “Print” button. I wish you can make your website to be able to print the recipe in simple format, for compilation. Thanks.

  21. J Lee

    What a pleasure to have come across your site. Food is so tasty & easy to follow. I keep coming back to this recipe! I could’nt find Chinese rice wine and didnt want to buy sherry for a Tb so I substituted it with Apple Juice. This taste better than the restaurant dim sum version! Thanks! 🙂

  22. Billy

    If I can’t find black bean sauce but I have Chinese fermented black beans, can I substitute that? If so, what’s the amount you would recommend? Otherwise, I can find Lee Kum Kee black bean & garlic sauce. Would that work too?

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  24. Janeth

    Hi I hope youre still reading comments!!.. but I wanted to know if I can somehow cook this in the slow cooker. btw the pic looooks amazing!


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  28. chi17agirl

    I use this recipe all the time. Thanks!! Just wondering, did you purposely leave out SALT?

  29. manoj telang

    Hi! I really like your recipes, but I can’t find the “Print” button. I wish you can make your website to be able to print the recipe in simple format, for compilation. Thanks.

  30. Jessi V

    Wow, yummy and amazing!
    I’ve seen a similar ones that works with slow cooker. It’s called Chinese slow cooker ribs with soy been sauce.

  31. Pingback: Black Bean Pork Spareribs | beland&priscilla

  32. DD


    I have a jar of Black bean garlic sauce in my fridge and I don’t know what to do with it (I also don’t know why I bought it, Haha) so I google some recipes and come across your blog/recipe!! You’re a hilarious writer and I like your humor… particularly about Bob and plucking your children off the chandelier, and banging your head against the wall…

    Thanks so much for the recipe!!

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  34. Tonya

    HI!!! This has become a weekly staple for which our 3-year-old son asks on a more-than-weekly basis! Thank you!!!!

  35. Miss D. Memo

    Oh, how I laughed when Imread your PS about Bob! Then I busted a gut when I read Miss Twist’s reply. Not to fear! My husband duct taped my guts back in and no longer puts me on the counter to mix dough!
    Still laughing!

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