Chinese steamed pork ribs with (spicy) black bean sauce

Chinese steamed pork ribs with (spicy) black bean sauce is served as a dim sum dish but for most Cantonese households, it's comfort food. In my household, I make this as a one-dish meal with napa cabbage. My daughters love the steamed napa, because it soaks up all the delicious flavor from the pork ribs.  It's a simple dish to assemble, but the key to good flavor is allowing the pork ribs to marinate overnight.

The traditional steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce is not spicy.  However, if you like to turn up the heat, sliced green chili can be added or a chili garlic black bean sauce can be made from scratch.

Tips for making Chinese steamed pork ribs with (spicy) black bean sauce.

As mentioned earlier, the key to delicious Chinese steamed pork ribs with (spicy) black bean sauce is to ensure that the meat is well marinated.  When the pork is marinated overnight, the flavor is absorbed into the meat.  The alcohol in the marinade assists in tenderizing the pork.  The sweetness from the sugar complements the saltiness in the black bean sauce. The combination of the marinade and black bean sauce provides a more complex, delicious and tasty flavor which makes the marinating time well worth it.

Pork ribs

The pork ribs needed for this dish are ribs that have been cut across the bone. These can be purchased in most Asian (Chinese) supermarkets.  There are two kinds of ribs that are sold.  Pork spare ribs and baby back or pork loin ribs.  The major difference is the size of the bones and the amount of meat on the bone.  The spare ribs tend to have larger bones with less meat and the baby backs or pork loin ribs tend to have smaller bones with more meat.  Choose ribs that are meaty with very little fat and small rib bones. Cut the meat between each rib bone.  If you purchase ribs with a lot of fat, the steamed dish and the vegetables will be swimming in grease which is nasty!

Cut the ribs between each bone.

Cut the ribs between each bone.

Cut spare ribs

Cut spare ribs

Cut baby back ribs

Cut baby back ribs

Chinese marinade

Marinating the pork ribs is key.  You can either use the Chinese bulk marinade which you can store and use for other dishes or marinate this as an individual dish.  Besides the marinade, black bean sauce is needed.  You can either make your own chili garlic black bean sauce which is very easy or buy a ready-made black bean garlic sauce.  Combine the marinade and sauce with the pork ribs and allow to marinate overnight to allow the flavor to absorb into the meat.

black bean sauce

Black bean garlic sauce

Making it spicy.

If you want to spice up the steamed pork ribs using the black bean garlic sauce, either slice or chop up some chili's and add it to the marinade.  The amount of chili is dependent on your spice tolerance as well as the type of chili that you are using.  Sliced chili's are easier to pick out for those who cannot take the heat, but the spiciness does permeate the dish!

Add cornstarch, marinade and black bean sauce

Add cornstarch, marinade and black bean garlic sauce.

Allow meat to marinate overnight.

Allow pork ribs to marinate overnight.

Cooking the Steamed Chinese pork ribs with (spicy) black bean sauce.

I usually make this dish with napa cabbage and combine both the napa cabbage with the pork ribs for steaming.  This results in napa cabbage that is full of the pork rib flavor and is absolutely delicious. Cut the napa cabbage into fairly large strips and line the base of the heat-proof container with napa cabbage pieces.  The container should be large enough so that the pork ribs are not cramped in the dish as this will cause uneven steaming which will result in some pieces of pork being undercooked or raw! Place the pork ribs on the top of the napa cabbage and steam.   Either place the dish in a steamer or on a trivet over some water in a covered wok.  Steam the pork ribs for about 15-20 minutes until done.  The pork is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius).  Enjoy and if you've tried this recipe, let me know what you think in the comment section.

Napa cabbage in heat-proof container.

Napa cabbage pieces in heat-proof container.

Place marinated pork ribs on top of napa cabbage pieces.

Place marinated pork ribs on top of napa cabbage pieces.

Place container in steamer.

Place container in steamer.

Chinese steamed pork ribs with (spicy) black bean sauce

STEAMED PORK RIBS WITH (SPICY) BLACK BEAN SAUCE

Michelle Sam
Home cooking steamed pork ribs are easy to make. Just prep ahead, allow to marinate and steam!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marinate 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4 people
Calories 250 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 454 grams pork ribs
  • 3 Tbsp bulk marinade without corn starch
  • ½ Tbsp corn starch
  • Tbsp chili garlic black bean sauce

If bulk marinade is not available

Instructions
 

  • Cut the rib into pieces between each rib bone.
    Cut the ribs between each bone.
  • Combine pork ribs and marinade ingredients together.
    Add cornstarch, marinade and black bean sauce
  • Marinate overnight.
    Allow meat to marinate overnight.
  • Cut napa cabbage and line a heat-proof, steamable dish.
    Napa cabbage in heat-proof container.
  • Loosely place marinated pork ribs onto napa cabbage to allow meat to cook uniformally.
    Place marinated pork ribs on top of napa cabbage pieces.
  • Place over steaming water for about 20 minutes until the internal temperature measures 145°F or 67°C.
    Place container in steamer.

Nutrition

Serving: 4servingsCalories: 250kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 13gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 274mgPotassium: 198mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 4gCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mgNet Carbohydrates: 5g
Keyword black bean sauce, Chili garlic black bean sauce, Chinese crispy pork, pork, pork ribs
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was or if you have any questions or suggestions!
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