Spareribs With Black Bean Sauce: How To Make Cantonese Ribs

Other than siomai, chicken feet, congee, crab cutlets, dumplings, and spring rolls, another dim sum favorite recipe is steamed spare ribs in a black bean sauce that is nicknamed “pai kuat” in Cantonese. Chinese black bean spareribs are a tasty and simple home-cooked meal. They function like a primary or a secondary platter.

To cooks who want a single pan cooking process, this is a great recipe. With one wok or pan, the entire meal will be completed. This dish is traditionally made of fermented whole black beans but a basic, cookable Black Bean Sauce is found in every Chinese food store. For any busy chef who wants a quick meal but refuses to skip out on great food, this sauce is an important time-saver.

A multi-layer flavor that penetrates the tender meat, braised spare ribs with black bean sauce is a delicious treat that requires effortless preparation. You’d definitely know a dish called “steamed spare ribs with black beans” if you had a Cantonese dim sum-brunch. It is a favorite dim sum plate for many Cantonese. Getting more than 5 ribs in a single serving in a restaurant means you’re lucky!

Cantonese Ribs

  • Author: Romae Chanice Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Cantonese



This recipe will take about 1 hour to make. It is suitable for 4 servings. 

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Cantonese Ribs Ingredients

  • 2 pounds pork spareribs, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Chinese cooking rice wine
  • 2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons fermented black beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, chopped

Cantonese Ribs Instructions

Step 1: Rinse the pork ribs and drain well. Pat them dry.

Step 2: In a bowl, combine pork ribs, Chinese rice wine, some soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, the garlic, and a pinch of both salt and sugar. Stir to coat the meat and marinate for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 3: Next up, you need to add cornstarch and combine until the ribs have been fully coated. Add the black beans sauce and stir well.

Step 4: Transfer the pork ribs to a large, shallow, heat-proof dish.

Step 5: Prepare a steamer by boiling about two inches of water.

Step 6: Place the ribs in the steamer basket, cover and steam for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and is cooked through. 

Step 7: If desired, sprinkle with green onions. Serve them hot.

Cantonese Ribs Additional Information

  • If you want more authentic and classic versions of spareribs with black bean sauce, many abide by these additional tips: 
    • Add cornstarch and water while cooking the other ingredients. When the ingredients have been cooked, apply the past for a thicker sauce.
    • Don’t cook the ribs too much or make them tough and chewy. Cook pieces of small size for about fifteen to twenty minutes, and five minutes if extra meaty.
    • Use thin chili peppers along with the green onions when ready to serve if you want a little spice.
  • These ribs will take about 1 hour to make.
  • This recipe is suitable for 4 servings.

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About Cantonese Ribs

What makes this dish stand out is how the black bean sauce has a strong, savory flavor, which ideal for eating with steamed rice. In China, the chef selects the smaller sizes for the ribs and serves them in the bamboo steamer, which is an important component when it comes to accomplishing the dish.


Steaming is uncommon when we think about cooking spareribs since the traditional way to cook pork ribs is grilled, baked, smoked, or deep-fried. But this platter requires steaming, much like many other dim sum dishes. Click here for more international recipes. 


Featured images: Image 1, Image 2