Pork Ribs with Black Bean Sauce

Pork Ribs with Black Bean Sauce

Once I prepare pork ribs with black bean sauce, I usually wonder why I don’t make them more regularly.

One-dish meals don’t get much better than this dish of pork ribs in a delicious sauce served over rice. Making delicate, luscious, fall-off-the-bone pork in a black bean sauce takes some time, but it’s extremely simple, and the first step can be done ahead of time!

To clarify, these ribs with black bean sauce are NOT steamed but rather prepared and stir-fried in a wok. Steamed pork ribs with fermented black beans, like those served in Chinese dim sum restaurants, are a specialty of ours, and we have a special recipe for them.

I’m curious about these fermented black beans you mention, but what are they in China?

Black bean sauce doesn’t actually use the kind of black beans you’d find in a can at the grocery store. They are fermented black soybeans used in Chinese cuisine.

They pack a powerful umami punch and salty taste. You may get them at low prices and a wide variety in Chinese supermarkets. You can get a one-pound bag for about $2. Among Chinese consumers, we like to boast that they offer the most flavor for the least amount of money.


Boneless country ribs, baby back ribs, or St. Louis-style ribs are all suitable substitutes in this recipe. In the case of bone-in ribs, you’ll need to use a cleaver to break them up into manageable chunks. Your butcher should be able to do this for you as well.

Never attempt this with a standard kitchen knife. You risk chipping your knife if you try to use it to cut through bone, as it was not designed for such a task.

Use a hefty Chinese cleaver instead. You can see that the one I’m using is quite bulky and thick. This type of slicing into bones is precisely what it was made for.

The cutting board will not move around as much if you place a damp dish towel under it. Additionally, it acts as cushioning for your counter to protect it from knife cuts.

Formerly served in restaurants, this is how it was prepared.

My first job out of college was at a Chinese American restaurant in upstate New York. One of the dishes we served was pork ribs in black bean sauce. I wouldn’t call it a crowd-pleaser because fermented black bean sauce wasn’t as commonplace as it is today; the 1970s were before my time.

As a result of my father’s cleaver instruction, I was given the responsibility of slicing pork ribs into manageable bits. We used to be able to crank out ten servings of these ribs at once. When customers ordered pork ribs, I would pre-cook them for 30–40 minutes until tender, let them cool, and then individually wrap them in plastic.

Now, I know you’re wondering, “But what about the next question?”


Besides the time spent pre-cooking the pork ribs, I would classify this as a relatively simple recipe.

Essentially, you may utilize the same system that we did in the kitchen to get ready for orders. Pre-cooked ribs can be easily frozen in serving or family sizes. In that manner, pork ribs with black bean sauce can be prepared rapidly any day of the week.

Performing the first step of the recipe is all that is required. After draining and cooling, divide the ribs into parts and store them in freezer bags or containers along with the pork stock.

To prepare them for cooking, remove them from the freezer the night or at least a few hours before. The last step of stir-frying the pork ribs with the sauce is lightning fast.

The recipe, please!


  • 800g of pork ribs (chopped into 1 1/2 inch chunks)
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 2 chopped scallions
  • 1 slice smashed ginger (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion (1 inch chunks)
  • 5 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoons of fermented black beans
  • 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper


  1. Salt the water to taste and bring it to a boil. Toss in the ribs and cook at a low simmer for 40 minutes, turning them occasionally or until they reach the desired tenderness. Put a fine mesh strainer over a dish to catch the strained pork broth, then transfer the ribs there. There should be about 1.5 cups of fluid in your system.
  2. Oil should be heated in a wok over moderate heat. Fry the crushed ginger until it turns caramelized (15-30 seconds). Put in the black beans, garlic, onions, and peppers. Add the pork ribs and stir-fry for a further minute. The Shaoxing wine comes next.
  3. Then, add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of pork stock and reduce heat to a simmer. If you prefer a saucier rib dish, feel free to add more stock or water.
  4. Sprinkle in the sugar, white pepper, sesame oil, light soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes while stirring. Check the seasoning of the sauce and adjust accordingly.
  5. To use, make a slurry by thoroughly combining the cornstarch and water. For the sauce to thicken, stir constantly. Add a touch of water if it’s too thick to pour.
  6. Add extra cornstarch slurry if the consistency is too watery. Blend in the minced scallions, and serve over rice.

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