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:


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.