Do you have favorite dishes that you must order whenever you go for a Chinese dim sum? For us, steamed spare ribs with black beans is definitely one of our must-haves. Though lately, we have been ordering this less and less because of how easy it is to actually prepare this dish at home. These spare ribs are so delicious and ridiculously easy you will want to make them, again and again, to serve with steamed white rice.
For dim sum style, make sure to use a shorter spare ribs
Do you notice that Chinese style spare ribs are much shorter compared to their Western counterparts? It’s actually the same thing, but Chinese butchers usually cut the regular spare ribs into two lengthwise to create shorter ribs, which makes them much easier to handle with a pair of chopsticks. If you want your spare ribs to look exactly like the dim sum version, you will definitely want to get your butcher to chop them for you. Or, if you buy your spare ribs from a Chinese/Asian grocery store, it is very likely that they are already pre-cut for you.
The prep works: marinate the spare ribs and prepare the rest of the ingredients
Once you have your requisite spare ribs, you will want to marinate them with the following for at least 2 hours, though I usually let them rest overnight in the fridge.
- Shaoxing wine
- sesame oil
- ground white pepper, you can use black pepper too if you don’t mind the black specks in the final dish
And here are the rest of the prep works that you need to do prior to steaming:
- chopping 1 red chili, I usually use Fresno chili for this
- chopping 1 green chili, I usually use Jalapeno or Serrano
- rinse and drain the fermented black beans
You should be able to find fermented black beans in any well-stocked Chinese/Asian grocery. I find that these are usually found in the dried/preserved ingredients aisle, along with dried turnips and the assortment of dried vegetables.
Steaming the spare ribs
There are two ways you can choose to steam your spare ribs: the dim sum style, or the normal way.
Dim sum style
You will need several small rimmed heatproof porcelain plates, like those you get from the dim sum. You then divide the spare ribs into several of these tiny plates, making sure that each plate only has one layer of ribs, or your cooking time will be off and the ribs won’t cook at the same time, then top with the chilies and fermented black beans.
Simply arrange the spare ribs in a heatproof rimmed plate/bowl, again in one layer, then top with the chilies and fermented black beans.
Once they are arranged, be sure to steam over medium heat until the meat is opaque and fully cooked. I usually need around 8-10 minutes as long as I keep the ribs in one layer. Enjoy!
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