Steamed Spare Ribs and Vegetables with Black Bean Sauce

Steamed Spare Ribs and Vegetables with Black Bean Sauce

Make your own simple marinade and go healthy with this dim sum-inspired steamed spare ribs and vegetables with black bean sauce recipe. Paired with flavorful sweet peppers and succulent eggplant, this steamed dish will be your new favorite dinner staple!

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Steamed vs barbecued spare ribs

If you are new to Cantonese cooking, you may wonder if steamed dishes can deliver the same rich flavor and juiciness as other cooking method like slow cooking and baking. The answer is absolutely YES with the right ingredients and timing! Read on for tips in steaming meat to perfection!

The legendary black bean sauce gives a deep flavor to the spare ribs. The black soy beans used in Chinese black bean sauce are fermented with salt. Its flavor resembles closely with soy sauce yet with a deeper and more complex flavor. To prepare black bean sauce from scratch is easy. Simply soak the fermented black beans in quarter cup of water. Then mash and mix with other ingredients of choice. Some easy pantry staple that goes well here are garlic powder and black pepper.

The juicy meat counts on a nice starch coating and avoiding overcooking. We often add a coat of starch like cornstarch and arrowroot starch on the ribs before cooking. This helps to keep the meat juicy in 2 ways. First, it locks in the moisture in each piece of meat similar to a searing effect. Second, the excess starch will help thicken the sauce. This will make sure there is a nice amount of sauce coating every bite of meat!

Steamed spare ribs in a glass dish at an angle

Vegetable that works well steamed

Here I picked two kinds of vegetable to complete the dish. One, vegetable with bold flavor like sweet pepper. To add flavor complexity to the dish, something that has a strong flavor will be able to shine through the black bean sauce. Choose the red variety and that adds bright color to the dish too! You can also substitute sweet pepper with diced fennel bulb.

Two, vegetable that soaks up sauce well like eggplant. Who would let all that yummy sauce go to waste? Use some spongy ingredients like eggplant (moisture squeezed), fried tofu and diced squash. You will be rewarded with flavorful succulent sides that goes well with the steamed ribs!

How to make steamed ribs and vegetable

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix preserved black beans and water. Set aside for 20 minutes until water turns brown like soy sauce
  2. With a fork, lightly crush the soaked black beans to release flavor
  3. Add cooking oil, garlic powder, ground black pepper to soaked black beans and water and mix well
  4. Place cubed pork ribs into marinade mix and stir until well mixed
  5. Add cornstarch to the pork ribs and mix until well-coated on all sides. Set aside to marinade for at least 30 minutes
  6. Spread cubed eggplant and sweet bell pepper pieces in a steamer-safe dish. I used a 9-inch glass pie dish
  7. Place marinated pork ribs into the dish in-between the vegetables. Then pour the remaining marinade evenly over the vegetables
  8. Steam on high heat for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of pork rib pieces. Meat should appear shrunk with bone sticking out on both ends when cooked
  9. Garnish with green onion (optional). Serve as is or with your favorite rice

What to serve with steamed spare ribs and vegetable

Serve them as is or pair with cauliflower rice or quinoa for a paleo meal. If in doubt, pair it with a warm bowl of steamed rice for a classic Cantonese dinner!

Looking for more steamed recipe inspiration?

Check out the Belated recipe collection with easy steamed dishes recipes using my favorite steam oven, over a rice cooker steamer or on the stovetop!

Steamed spare ribs with vegetables in black bean sauce

A steamed spare ribs and vegetables with black bean sauce recipe to make your own dim sum-inspired one-dish meal gluten-free and fuzz-free.
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Cantonese, Chinese
Keyword: pork, pork ribs, steamed
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 723kcal
Author: Brenda

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Pork spare ribs cut across the bones and cubed
  • 1 Sweet bell pepper cored and cubed
  • 1 cup Eggplant cubed

Black bean marinade

  • 1 tbsp Dried preserved black beans
  • 1/4 cup Water or stock for deeper flavor
  • 1 tbsp Cooking oil or sesame oil for extra flavor
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp Ground black pepper or white pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch or arrowroot starch

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, mix preserved black beans and water. Set aside for 20 minutes until water turns brown like soy sauce
  • With a fork, lightly crush the soaked black beans to release flavor
  • Add cooking oil, garlic powder, ground black pepper to soaked black beans and water and mix well
  • Add cubed pork ribs into marinade mix and stir until well mixed
  • Add cornstarch to the pork ribs and mix until well-coated on all sides. Set aside to marinade for at least 30 minutes
  • Spread cubed eggplant and sweet bell pepper pieces in a steamer-safe dish. I used a 9-inch glass pie dish
  • Place marinated pork ribs into the dish in-between the vegetables. Then pour the remaining marinade evenly over the vegetables
  • Steam on high heat for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of pork rib pieces. Meat should appear shrunk with bone sticking out on both ends when cooked
  • Serve as is or with your favorite rice

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