Steamed Pork Ribs with Black Bean Sauce: A Culinary Guide

by Ella

Steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce is a classic Cantonese dish that tantalizes taste buds with its tender pork, fragrant black bean sauce, and harmonious blend of flavors. This culinary masterpiece requires a delicate balance of technique and ingredients to create a dish that is both visually appealing and satisfying to the palate. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through every step of the process, from selecting the perfect pork ribs to infusing them with the rich flavors of black bean sauce.

Steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce

Steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce is a classic and delicious dish in Chinese cuisine. Here's a basic recipe to help you make it:
Prep Time15 minutes
Active Time38 minutes
Course: Main Course
Yield: 2
Cost: $7


For the pork ribs:

  • 1 pound pork ribs, cut into individual pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the black bean sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinsed and mashed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1-2 red chili peppers, sliced (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup water or chicken broth

For garnish (optional):

  • Sliced green onions
  • Chopped cilantro


  • In a bowl, combine the Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Add the pork ribs and toss to coat. Let them marinate for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Rinse the fermented black beans under cold water and mash them with a fork or the back of a spoon. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and water or chicken broth. Set aside.
  • Place the marinated pork ribs in a heatproof dish that fits inside your steamer. Arrange them evenly.
  • Bring water to a boil in your steamer. Once boiling, place the dish with the pork ribs into the steamer and cover with the lid.
  • Steam the pork ribs for about 20-25 minutes or until they are cooked through. The exact time may vary depending on the size of the ribs. They should be tender and cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).
  • While the pork ribs are steaming, heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, ginger, and sliced chili peppers. Stir-fry for about a minute until fragrant.
  • Add the mashed black beans to the pan and stir-fry for another minute to release their flavors.
  • Pour in the sauce mixture (soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, water or chicken broth). Stir well and let it simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Once the pork ribs are done steaming, carefully remove them from the steamer and transfer them to a serving plate.
  • Pour the prepared black bean sauce over the steamed pork ribs.

Serve and Enjoy:


Garnish the steamed pork ribs with fresh cilantro leaves and thinly sliced scallions. This adds a burst of color and freshness to the dish.


Pair the “Steamed Pork Ribs with Black Bean Sauce” with steamed jasmine rice to soak up the flavorful sauce. Steamed vegetables, such as bok choy or gai lan, make excellent companions, providing a textural contrast and a nutritional balance.


How do I prepare the pork ribs before cooking?

Clean the Pork Ribs:


Rinse the pork ribs under cold water to remove any bone fragments or debris. Pat them dry with paper towels.


Marinate the Pork Ribs:

In a bowl, combine the Shaoxing wine or dry sherry, soy sauce, and cornstarch. This marinade helps to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor.

Place the pork ribs in the bowl and toss them in the marinade until well coated. Make sure each piece is evenly coated with the marinade.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and let the pork ribs marinate for about 15-20 minutes. You can also marinate them for longer, even up to an hour, for more flavor penetration.

Optional: Parboil the Pork Ribs (optional, but recommended for extra tenderness):

Parboiling involves briefly boiling the pork ribs before steaming. This step helps to remove excess impurities and fat, resulting in cleaner flavors and a tender texture.

To parboil, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the marinated pork ribs and let them boil for about 5 minutes. Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface.

Remove the pork ribs from the boiling water and rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Pat them dry with paper towels.

What can I serve steamed pork ribs with?

Steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce are delicious on their own, but they can be even more satisfying when served with complementary side dishes. Here are some options to consider:

Steamed Rice: This is the most common accompaniment to many Chinese dishes, including steamed pork ribs. The rice helps balance the flavors and soaks up the delicious sauce.

Stir-Fried Vegetables: A side of stir-fried bok choy, Chinese broccoli (gai lan), or other leafy greens adds a fresh and nutritious element to the meal.

Noodles: Serve the pork ribs with steamed or stir-fried noodles. Egg noodles, rice noodles, or even lo mein would be great options.

Pickled Vegetables: A side of pickled cucumbers or radishes can provide a tangy contrast to the rich flavors of the pork ribs.

Sliced Fresh Cucumber: A refreshing and crunchy cucumber salad with a light vinaigrette can complement the richness of the dish.

Steamed Dumplings: Enjoy the pork ribs with some steamed dumplings or potstickers for a more diverse and complete meal.

See Also: Homemade Dumplings Recipe: Step-by-Step Tutorial

Fried Rice: If you’re looking to turn it into a one-dish meal, consider serving the steamed pork ribs over a bed of fried rice. The flavors will mingle well.

Soup: A clear broth-based soup, such as hot and sour soup or egg drop soup, can be a nice way to start the meal.

Fruit: Serve some fresh fruit on the side, like sliced oranges or pineapple, to provide a refreshing and sweet contrast.

FAQs About making steamed pork ribs with black bean sauc

Q1. Can I use spare ribs instead of pork ribs for this dish?

Yes, spare ribs can be used instead of pork ribs. They are often meatier and can result in a more substantial dish.

Q2. Is there a substitute for Shaoxing wine?

If you don’t have Shaoxing wine, you can use dry sherry as a substitute. If you prefer not to use alcohol, you can skip this ingredient or use a small amount of chicken or vegetable broth.

Q3. How can I ensure the pork ribs are cooked properly?

Make sure to steam the pork ribs for the recommended time, but also check their doneness by inserting a fork or knife into the thickest part. The meat should be tender and should easily come off the bone when cooked.

Q4. Are fermented black beans the same as black bean sauce?

No, they are not the same. Fermented black beans are whole black soybeans that have been preserved. Black bean sauce, on the other hand, is made by combining fermented black beans with other seasonings to create a flavorful sauce.

Q5. What kind of steamer should I use?

You can use a traditional bamboo steamer or an electric steamer for this recipe. If you’re using a bamboo steamer, make sure it fits the dish with the pork ribs comfortably. If using an electric steamer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


Mastering the art of steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce requires patience, attention to detail, and a passion for creating exquisite flavors. By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-equipped to create a dish that embodies the essence of traditional Cantonese cuisine. From selecting the right ingredients to steaming the pork ribs to perfection, this dish is bound to become a centerpiece of your culinary repertoire, impressing family and friends with your culinary prowess. Enjoy the rewarding journey of crafting this delectable masterpiece!



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