Friday, March 29, 2013

Steamed Spare Ribs with Fermented Black Bean

This dish is one of my husband's favourite dim sum 点心 dish.

I do not know what restaurants do to make the spare rib so tender that it can almost slip off the bone but what I'm going to share with you is my unauthentic method of doing it. I'm sure the experts have their own brillant ways.

I know some people swear that corn flour will do the trick, ie; to get it soft and tender. I can tell you corn flour only helps make it velvety. It doesn't make the meat tender.  In order to make the meat tender, I use baking powder as a meat tenderiser. If you only have baking soda, you can use that too.

So, with the baking powder or soda, you can make tender meat even when cooking time is just only 10 to 15 minutes. This is a trick I learned from an uncle who runs a mix vegetable stall in a Kopitiam many years ago.

So get your baking powder/soda ready to make the tender and velvety Steamed Pork Ribs. :)

  • 200g Spare Ribs, ask the butcher to chop into smaller pieces for you

  • 1 tablespoon Chinese Cooking Wine
  • 2 teaspoon Baking Powder or Soda

  • 1 teaspoon Fermented Black Bean (abt 7g), rinse and gently press to bruise them
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Oyster Sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 to 1/2 teaspoon White Vinegar
  • 1 clove Garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon Water
  • 1 tablespoon Cornflour
  • 1 Red Chilli, de-seeded and cut
  • 2 drops Dark Soy Sauce (for colour)
  • a drizzle of Sesame Oil
  • a pinch of Gourmet Chicken Powder

How to do it:
  1. Pat dry spare ribs.
  2. Add in tenderiser and coat well. You will see frizzing which is normal.
  3. Set aside for 2 hours.
  4. Rinse spare ribs and pat dry.
  5. Add in marinade and mix well with spare ribs.
  6. Marinate it for at least an hour.
  7. Drain the spare ribs from the marinade
  8. Place them onto a steaming dish. I separate them into 2 portion for steaming.
  9. Steam for 12 mins or till done.
  10. Serve immediately.


  1. Fantastic recipe! I've made this dish twice (with some random recipe online) and it didn't include the baking soda/powder, and I could definitely tell the spare ribs were missing the tenderness and velvety-ness. I look forward to giving your recipe a try.

  2. I tried making this dish. For the tenderizer, I pour wine over the ribs then put baking soda. Is that ok ? There is no frizzing. Or should I mix baking soda with wine before putting to the meat?

  3. my friend in UK cook this dish for me last week when I pay her a visit. It was really delicious and she even gave me a portion that is seasoned but not cook for me to take back to cook for my son . My son loved it so much and ask me for the recipe . Thanks .