Black Bean Spare Ribs Recipe
March 20th, 2009 28 Comments

Black Bean Spare Ribs Recipe

(Chinese recipes, prepare authentic Chinese food now!)

Today,  I am very pleased to have Diana Kuan of Appetite for China as a guest writer on Rasa Malaysia. Based in Beijing, Diana is a freelance writer and cooking instructor specializing in Chinese recipes; she has also written for The Boston Globe, Food & Wine, and other publications. Please welcome Appetite for China as she shares her recipe of spicy black bean spare ribs recipe with us.

In Chinese cooking, there are few ingredients more versatile than fermented black beans. You can use it to flavor steamed fish, eggplant, or one of my favorite Sichuan dishes, twice-cooked pork. It has a pungent, earthy aroma; a spoonful of black beans packs so much flavor you often don’t need additional salt. One way to use fermented black beans is to buy them whole, rinse them under cold water, and chop them up. Of course, it’s also easy to find prepared black bean sauce at a local Chinese market. My latest obsession is chili black bean sauce. I keep a small bottle in the fridge and pull it out whenever I need a reliable sauce at the last minute.

Have you ever had steamed spare ribs at a Chinese dim sum restaurant? Yes, those little juicy ribs in the bamboo steamer, covered with with a dark garlicky sauce that everyone’s chopsticks fight for. No matter how good they taste, have you ever wondered how much better they would be pan-fried, with a spicier sauce? These spare ribs take only 15 minutes to cook, and the ingredients require little chopping. The brown sugar add a tinge of sweetness to compliment the black beans and chili oil. And be sure to have rice handy; you’ll need it to sop up the addictive sauce.

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28 comments... read them below or add one

  1. veron says:

    I’ve missed eating this. My dad used to make this all the time. Thanks for reminding me what a tasty dish it is. I’ve always had my fix from a chinese dimsum cart and you are right that it’d be so much better pan-fried.

  2. Eating365 says:

    I love black beans spare ribs, in fact, I love anything made with fermented black beans. I didn’t know it’s so easy to make this at home. I always think of this as something that would take me the whole day. Any idea how dim sum restaurant make the spare rib so tender?

  3. Oh, this is one of my favorite things to order in a Chinese restaurant! They looks so wonderful! I can’t wait to try this for myself.

  4. Cynthia says:

    I am definitely going to be making this.

    Thanks for bringing these amazing writers to us Bee.

  5. NYMY says:

    I love black bean spare ribs, and this is one of my favorites, however my wife doesn’t eat pork so she doesn’t make it for me. Fermented black beans with spare ribs is a Chinese classic, steamed or stir-fried, they are all good.

  6. nina says:

    I’ve just been to a lovely breakfast with friends, but one look at this photo and my mouth was watering!!! WOW I love that sauce you’ve made!!!!

  7. I love pork ribs with black bean sauce. I can eat my rice with just the black bean sauce…very sweet because of the pork ribs. Hungry.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am a Muslim so I don’t eat pork. Can I use chicken for this black bean sauce recipe? If so, which part of chicken will be good? How long do I need to make it?

  9. yum, need to try this recipe

  10. This reminds me how much I love spareribs in black bean sauce. Thanks! Now, I have to search your site to see if you have a recipe for chicken feet in black bean sauce.

  11. buzzinghive says:

    Just tried this out – the ribs tasted good after infused with the black bean sauce. At the end of the simmer, the sauce had stick to my wok, not sure if its due to the corn flour or I din stir during the process ? So no sauce left for rice :( Anyway, thanks for the great recipe !

  12. Steve says:

    Hello. Thank you for the recipe. This will become a regular on our dining table.

  13. leng says:

    hi bee! this is my second time to do this and i cant wait to eat it hahaha! im adding shitake mushrooms to give it some added texture :D thanks so much!

  14. Zeenath A. Rahim says:

    Hi. I am a diffident cook. I have been enjoying your blog the last two years. Some great & satisfying recipes. You are truly a natural and gifted cook.

    In this recipe for Black bean spare ribs which looks scrumptous, can I use beef or chicken instead of pork. I’m a Muslim and don’t eat pork?

    Look forward to enjoying your blog for a long time to come. Best wishes Zeenath, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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  16. Evelyn says:

    I am wondering what is the name of this type of ribs. The type of ribs I see is always really long and not as meaty looking. Thank you-

    • It’s called spare ribs.

    • Owen says:


      It is the regular (long) spare ribs that the butcher cuts into bite size. Buy it at a Chinese market, or other Asian markets, it is cheaper and they will always ask you if you want it cut. American market butchers generally don’t have a clue why you want it cut and will invariably cut it too big (2-3 inches, instead of 1 inch).


  17. Suzanne says:

    hi there……..really want to make these spareribs for my Epicurious club and it’s Chinese night in 1 week….can I make this recipe for about 15 people in my slow cooker so they can slow cook and be tender for about 6 hours? Hope you can help me ..Merci

  18. fuadu says:

    just love it…. it great

  19. zephyr says:

    Made this today. The sauce was finger-licking good but the meat was tough. Is it supposed to be like this or more tender. If tender, what could I try to do next time?

  20. Dan says:

    Thanks for a great recipe. We cheated, we asked the butcher at the supermarket to cut the ribs into 1 inch strips (across the bone), that way we could easily cut them apart at home.

    Thanks again!

  21. paulina says:

    It’s such a big pleasure to cook from your book and from your website.
    The recipes that I’ve made came out really good.
    Thank You

  22. Donna says:

    Tried this tonight, used garlic black bean paste and no chili, but the sauce is way too salty for our taste even though I’ve added more water.

  23. thomas anthony navarro says:

    hi, can we make homemade chili black bean sauce??..coz i need it when i’m making siomai ( dumplings )..

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