Steamed Spare Ribs in Black Bean Sauce

Chances are if you’re Chinese, or are an avid Dim-Sum connoisseur then you’ve had this dish before.  Today it just so happens that my family bought a few pounds of spare ribs on sale and left it with me to figure out what to do with it.

For this recipe you’ll need a steamer and a steamer clamp. If you don’t have one any deep pan or pot with a steamer stand will do just make sure your plate will fit in it with room to spare.


  • 2 lbs of pork spare ribs
  • a handful of dried wolfberries (aka goji berries)
  • 2 tbs of Chinese black bean sauce (I usually use Lee Kum Kee brand)
  • 1 ½ tbs of minced ginger (cut up a ginger about the size of your thumb)
  • 1 tbs of minced garlic
  • 2 tbs of any Asian cooking wine (any rice wine is good, cooking or drinking ones – I used soju since I ran out of cooking wine )
  • 1 ½ tbs of sugar
  • 1 ½ tbs of corn starch
  • a drizzle of sesame oil
  • a splash of soya sauce (optional, adjust to taste, I would add a bit more sugar to balance)



  1. In a large mixing bowl add in all ingredients except the spare ribs and wolfberries, adjusting to your own tastes.  This will be the marinade.
  2. Once the marinade is of suitable taste (taste test before adding raw meat), add in pork spare ribs and leave to marinade for minimum 30 minutes to overnight for best flavour absorption.
  3. Get out a glass dish (or any deep dish that will fit in your steamer and hold extra juices) and put marinated short ribs into it.  While you do this you can also take the wolfberries and soak them briefly in warm water and start boiling the water in your steamer (make sure if you are using a steamer stand that the stand stays above the water).
  4. Drain the wolfberries and sprinkle them over top of the short ribs.  You don’t have to use wolfberries, I just like to use them because they’re sweet which balances the salty black bean sauce and they’re good for you!
  5.    When the water in your steamer (or pot with a steamer stand) starts to boil, quickly lift the lid and using the steamer clamp place your dish inside your steamer before closing the lid.
  6. Let it steam for about 20 minutes or until you notice the meat is no longer pink (this may be hard to judge due to the marinade, so you can also tell by seeing if the meat has curled in at the edges and the bones seem to protrude more outward).


*** Just as a disclaimer for those who don’t know, when I cook I generally don’t really measure or follow recipes I find exactly, so all my recipes can be adjusted to what you have in your pantry.  Feel free to experiment and adjust to your own taste! ***