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.

Did not load Widget Area 5

Comments 99

  1. Zenchef

    Those Chinese spareribs with black beans look absolutely DELICIOUS but i must say…the pictures of Bob with his head cracked opened are a bit disturbing…is he doing okay? Where can we send cards and/or flowers to wish him well?

  2. Nate

    Oh man I would so love to be in that class! Unfortunately my trip to LA-LA land will be too late to make that date.

  3. Pepy

    Woww… I would love to go to your cooking class, especially Rasa Malaysia will be there. Too bad, I live far away from you guys…

  4. Tim Cuthbertson

    I read where at least one person has published his entire blog as a book. So, maybe its not as dumb as it sounds to put your recipes on your blog, then come out with them later in a cookbook. They would probably reach an almost entirely separate audience.


  5. Tim Seldin

    I agree Jaden. People buy cookbooks to have the tangible bound books, lovely photos and all, in their kitchen. I promise Joyce and I will buy it, even if we’ve read the blog and had you lead us by the hand in coking them.

    Tim Seldin

  6. daphne

    this is our ‘must order’ dish each time we head for dim sum. and what a retro looking bob… glad he survived the brain surgery.

  7. cindy

    ooh, when you get it done, i will SO buy your cookbook! the ribs look and sound very delicioso! i love black beans, and this recipe really does sound so easy! (the story of bob was pretty funny!)

  8. Melinda

    So when are you coming to London to teach us how to cook. Lord knows we can use it!
    Poor poor Bob! But isn’t he a trooper to get up again and knead that dough like nothing happened. I love my Kitchen Aid mixer. it would be a tragic kitchen accident for my baby.
    When in London I love Cha Siu Bow from the Chinese bakery in Soho-China town. Such a treat!

  9. Melinda

    Oh, Jaden, I forgot to say that i’d buy your bound copy blog book.
    But you have to autograph it!

  10. Danielle

    I’d buy the book anyway! Though, I’ve been playing with the same idea (I have a title in mind, which really gets me fantasizing), and have considered the same problem.

  11. Jen

    You rock!! this is my absolute FAVORITE dim sum dish!!! Thanks for this!!

    Stalker that I am (and hopelessly unable to cook), i’ve signed up for BOTH classes (thanks to Tina)!! I can’t wait to eat…i mean “learn how to cook” (wait….there IS taste testing afterwards, RIGHT???)

    Am I allowed to bring wine?? πŸ™‚

  12. LunaPierCook

    You know darn well all ya’ gots ta do is send me the recipes and the laid-out cookbook will come back to you. Simple! πŸ˜‰ Of course, my computer’s chewing on a thirty-minute TV show at the moment and if it crashes again, it’s gonna end up just like Bob!!! πŸ™

  13. Chris

    Yummy ribs! Good to know u can make it from scratch cos I always thought it had to be the black bean sauce in a jar by LKK(Lee Kum Kee) of HK.
    Re: Bob…u should write to KitchenAid abt it and say how very impressed u are with their product etc etc, they may reward u with a new machine!!

  14. Lynn

    Steamed spareribs? Yum with extra yum on the side!

    I’d buy your book so I didn’t have to look recipes up on the computer. The “convenience” of the internet isn’t always so convenient. But, I’d want an autograph on that sucker!

  15. Big Boys Oven

    Hey Jaden, sorry for not dropping by lately with personal things. Great to have read of you new aisan cooking class coming soon. Hmmm it is now tickling me of doing one under sifu Steven Cheng…lol! I am away from KL more than a week now and mis so many things such as huge red lobster dish and huge red fish dish create by sifu steven cheng for his clients, end up no pictures take and no post! πŸ™ Many more next time when I get back. So take cake babe and have fun with your cooking together with rasa malaysia.

  16. Tracy

    i always like spare ribs with black bean sauce πŸ™‚ tastes good too with spicy black beans.

    and i really think that the cooking class with Rasa Malaysia is going to be great! can’t wait to read about the event.

  17. catalina

    Except for the chicken feet, those are the same dimsum dishes I pick here in Manila PLUS two more — chive dumplings and stuffed eggplant (deep-fried and/or steamed). Roast duck (over rice or in a noodle soup) for entree and mango with peral balls for dessert. Ooh la la, watta life!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe–gotta try it soon. I’ll buy your cookbook — there’s something about cookbooks that recipes-on-the-net can’t satisfy.

    Poor Bob. But better his head got broke–than one of your cute little boys breaking a limb because of chandelier.
    You’re one lucky lady–handsome coolie cum brain surgeon for a husband πŸ™‚

  18. Chris Luebbe

    OMG! My favorite dim sum selection! Thank you for posting this. And, believe it or not, (although I think you’re being facetious) many bloggers go on to author books that are for the most part reprints of blog posts.

    I know I would buy it.

  19. Jaded

    Mmm I loves me some dim sum. I also always order fung jow but not so much with the pai gwut. However, a long long long time ago I went to Hong Kong with my sister to visit my aunt and cousin and they took us to this amazingly great dim sum restaurant that served pai gwut fan. I’ve been to a bunch of dim sum restaurants locally and can’t find this!! I’m not sure what kind of magic they put in the rice, but it seemed a little more complicated than putting pai gwut and juices over rice. It seemed like it was baked in a clay pot or something. Do you know how they do it?

  20. veron

    I’d buy your cookbook , Jaden! But thanks for publishing the steamed pork ribs recipe because this is my favorite dimsum dish. How exciting – you and Bee…I wish I could be there to attend the class. Have fun!

  21. Kiriel

    I do love black bean; only this weekend past I organised yum cha with friends, and introduced some of them to the delight of chicken feet with blackbean. Not all tried them, and not all of those that did liked them, but I was proud of them for trying!

  22. radish

    First of all, I’d like to go on record and say that I would buy your cookbook even if I had access to every single recipe online for free. There. If nothing else, you have one dedicated and eager buyer. Secondly, I thought I was the only one who named her big mixer, which, btw, looks identical in color and model to yours (white, Professional series) – my mixer’s name is “Animal” because the first time I used him – it’s a he, btw, like your Bob – he made those growly noises like the Muppet… and so… Sorry that Bob needed brain surgery. Animal is like my most prized earthly possession (perhaps because it was my first major real kitchen purchase when i had like no $) and I’d be super sad if he got hurt. But I think both Bob and Animal like being put to use – that’s what their job is supposed to be. Sitting idly in the corner, especially with tape and stuff, would make them sad – good thing you used it right away!

  23. wmw

    I wanna attend? Any contest for free flight tickets??? LOL! You and RM will have a blast. Will ask RM for an autograph when I see her during her next trip back to Malaysia. And I should get her to get your autograph for me too! :o)

  24. adren

    Can you use the same sauce and stir fry it with sliced beef?? Reminds me of Black Bean sauce Beef Hor Fun (rice noodles, nope, not Whore Fun)!!!

  25. blondee47

    jaden, when i see these packaged meat at my asian store, how do i know that it is good beef and pork and is sanitary considering it comes from the orient and is usually in the frozen stage? If the meat is fresh, then how do i know it comes from sanitary conditions…these small groceries ..are they regulated?

  26. Simon

    You are mistaken in assuming that people will not buy a cookbook if the recipes are online for free. This is he same flawed thinking that has the recording industry in it’s death throes. The fact is, yes, people will consume things for free if they are available, but that will not stop them from buying things as well. In the music business, all the studies not funded by the RIAA show that people who download free music tend to go out and buy more CDs than people who don’t. Also, if someone likes downloaded a song, the likelihood is that they will go out and buy the CD because the CD has a booklet, a nice case, the disc has a design printed on it etc. In other words, the physical object is as pleasurable to the user as the abstract content. So, if you provide an enjoyable experience on your site, and you also offer a cookbook to purchase, they will buy. You’ve already established yourself as a brand, displayed the quality and freshness of your product, you’d be a fool NOT to put out some cookbooks. People love and collect cookbooks. You can display them artfully on a coffee table or a book shelf, you can fall asleep at night reading them in bed, both things you cant do with a website.

  27. SteamyKitchen

    The large Asian markets that I normally go to in California have incredibly fresh meat – they sell so much so fast that the turnover is very quick. Now, that being said, I wouldn’t buy meat from the little tiny Asian market near my home in Florida. It’s a super small market with little turnover. I just don’t trust the quality and conditions.

    I guess my answer to you if you live near an Asian market that is busy and has a professional meat counter (not just a cooler) – it is probably good meat.

    Frozen? hmmm…I wouldn’t.

  28. Krizia

    Jaden, this makes me really sad. I mean, your spareribs are lovely and all, but it won’t make up for the fact that I’m totally going to miss out on your cooking classes by ONE DAY. πŸ™ boohoohoo. I won’t be in LA until Sunday afternoon because I have my last final at Berkeley on Saturday. Yes. A final exam on a Saturday. I am mucho sad that I will be missing out on learning to cook w/ Steamy Kitchen AND Rasa Malaysia. UGH. Excuse me while I weep in my corner of weeposity.

  29. Tanya

    Mmm. I’d buy it. My mom has a whole closet full of cookbooks that she uses all the time and never reads blogs– I have a few cookbooks that I rarely use (except when I need in-bed reading material), and am more likely to buy one when I’ve liked the writing style on the blog first. And I’m sure your beautiful face would sell some copies too.
    …Unfortunately, you’ve made me hungry for Dim Sum, and there’s *noplace* to get it- or anything but the most basic ingredients in DC… So I may need to learn the patience to futz with small things.

  30. Grifola frondosa


    Think value added for your cookbook.

    How about CD or DVD that would have you demo the recipe along with your witty patter.

    A bargain at twice the price.


  31. joey

    Oooh! I would have loved to attend a class given by you and Bee! Sigh…until then I will have to console myself with those steamed black bean ribs πŸ™‚ MMM!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *