Black bean spare ribs

Black bean spare ribs

Chinese Unchopped
10 mins
Cooking time
30 mins
Martin Poole

The most common way to eat these ribs is as a type of dim sum, but they also make a great simple meaty meal served with some stir-fried pak choi and rice on the side. Traditionally, sodium bicarbonate and water are used to tenderise the meat; however I have found that leaving the ribs in the marinade overnight and steaming them for a longer period of time works just as well, with the benefit of keeping the natural texture of the meat.


Quantity Ingredient
15 pork ribs, chopped into 3–4cm chunks, (ask your butcher to do this for you)
1 large fresh red chilli, finely sliced
1 spring onion, finely sliced

The marinade

Quantity Ingredient
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons preserved black beans, crushed
2 tablespoons plum sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon chiu chow chilli oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cornflour


  1. Put the ribs in a large bowl, add all the marinade ingredients and, using your hands, mix everything together until the ribs are well coated. Cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, place a bamboo steamer over a wok a third filled with boiling water. Put the ribs inside the steamer and sprinkle over half of the red chilli. Cover with the lid and steam for a minimum of 20 minutes, or until the ribs are tender and light brown in colour.
  3. Remove the ribs from the steamer, scatter over the spring onion and remaining red chilli and serve.


  • To check the ribs are properly cooked, check the ends of the bones – if these are dark in colour with no red present then the ribs will be ready.
School of Wok
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