Delicious dim sum style Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce always hits the spot as a main course. How do I know? I make it all the time and it never disappoints.
The routine is always the same when we sit down for dim sum. Everyone takes a seat, the server pours tea as the Lazy Susan spins around distributing filled white ceramic tea cups. While this is happening, everyone has their head in the air, looking like a pack of Meerkats. What are we all looking out for? The dim sum carts offering all our favorite items. If you've had dim sum before, you know which carts I’m talking about. The dim sum carts are filled with towers of small metal steamers, all neatly stacked with fresh offerings.
Once the cart arrives, we always agree on these staple items. Har Gao, Siu Mai, Chicken Feet, Beef Tripe and Steamed Spare Ribs (Dim Sum Style). There's never a discussion. The only question is, how many of each item we should get.
Steamed Black Bean Spare Ribs are always one of the first dishes to be devoured. Small bite sized pieces of fatty pork rib, steamed in a black bean sauce until tender. The sauce is so light, simple, yet flavorful and showcases the pork rib. They don’t typically serve steamed rice with dim sum but I always wished I had a bowl to go with the sauce.
One day I thought, why not make this at home in a much larger portion and use it as a main course? I can have all the rice I want and drench it in that tasty sauce. I developed the recipe and it was surprisingly easy! A handful of ingredients and an Instant Pot is all you need. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can steam it in a stovetop steamer for an additional 25 minutes.
Which Cuts of Pork Can I Use for Steamed Dim Sum Spare Ribs
Traditionally, this dish uses spare ribs cross cut into 1-1.5 inch riblets. They're easily found in Asian grocery stores since they're commonly used in a multitude of Asian recipes. Imagine a full rack of pork ribs cut crosswise into 1 inch widths. The rib bones are too thick to cut through at home so definitely ask your butcher to do the dirty work if they don't offer it in your grocery store.
Pork spare ribs are truly ideal for this dish. The meat has the perfect ratio of fat to meat which results in a succulent rib. The bone adds another layer of flavor and natural sweetness. While the connective membrane on the back of the ribs provides an added texture and flavor.
Cubed pork chops would work as well but anything with a good amount of fat is preferred. Try not to use tenderloin since it's too lean or pork belly as it's too fatty. Experiment and have fun with it. Let me know which cut of pork you prefer for this Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Beans recipe.
How to Make Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Beans in an Instant Pot
Cut the pork spare ribs in between each bone to create little riblets and marinate at least 4 hours (overnight is preferred). Right before steaming, add cornstarch to the spare ribs and massage it into the meat.
Transfer the spare ribs into a tall dish or a shallow bowl that fits inside the Instant Pot. The spare ribs will release juices during the cooking process so it's crucial to use a dish tall enough to catch the juices. Sprinkle black beans on the spare ribs.
In the inner pot of the Instant Pot, add water and a steam rack and place the dish on top. Cook on high pressure for 50 minutes. Quick release and carefully remove the dish.
Spare ribs can be quite fatty. Skim off the rendered fat floating on the surface then lightly drizzle with sesame oil. Enjoy with a bowl of rice but don't skip out on the sauce! It's my favorite part of the dish. My youngest daughter doesn't like to eat rice but when I make Steamed Spare Ribs, she loads up on rice with black bean sauce. It's that good!
- 1 ½ lb pork spare ribs, cut between the bones into segments.
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon dried black beans, rinsed
- drizzle of sesame oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 inch knob of ginger, julienned
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 4 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Combine the spare ribs with the MARINADE and mix well. Marinate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- When you’re ready to steam, add cornstarch to the spare ribs and mix until fully incorporated.
- Transfer spare ribs into a dish at least 1 inch tall that will fit into the Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
- Sprinkle black beans over the top of the spare ribs.
- Add water and a steam rack to the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Place the dish of spare ribs on the steam rack and cook on high pressure for 50 minutes.
- Quick release the Instant Pot and carefully remove the dish.
- Skim off the rendered fat floating at the top.
- Lightly drizzle with sesame oil.