Pork Ribs with Black Bean Garlic Sauce, for The Chinese New Year

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by Amy Flanigan on February 3, 2011 · 25 comments

Happy Chinese New Year! This year is dedicated to the Rabbit, which is a symbol for mercy, elegance, and worship of beauty. People born during the years 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011 are Rabbits and share the characteristics of being keen, wise, fragile, tranquil, serene, considerate, fashionable, and kind – all great qualities, and very different from myself, a Rooster.

Growing up, our house had an array of gorgeous ukiyo-e woodblock prints hanging on the wall, books about netsuke, and grasscloth wallpaper.

We had a foreign exchange student stay with us in 1985. And I would often find my mother practicing Tai Chi in the living room (at one time with a sword!)

Ya. You could say my parents have a great appreciation for Asian art.

Then there’s the food.

My mom used to prepare potstickers and egg rolls from scratch. She would also make sweet and sour chicken, always served in a beautiful turquoise ceramic bowl.

And this dish. Oh my…this dish.

It was only made when my grandparents would come for a visit. My Nan, never ever one to waste food, would lick those bones clean, not a spec of anything left on them. (She used to do that with chicken and fish bones too. Seriously, it was a talent.) The best part about this recipe is the broth. Whatever remained would be served over rice the next day for lunch. You hardly missed the pork at all, it’s so good.

I don’t make these very often because the ribs are pricey and it’s hard to find them without a lot of fat. But when I come across good quality ones, on sale, I don’t hesitate to buy some.

If you can find good quality pork spareribs at a decent price, you shouldn’t hesitate either. Thinking about my parent’s house, my grandparents, or celebrating the Chinese New Year is not a prerequisite.

Chinese Pork Ribs with Black Bean Garlic Sauce
Serves 6
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours

• 3 pounds pork ribs, cut across the bone (have your butcher do this), then remove as much fat as possible, and cut in between the bones into 1” pieces
• 4 tablespoons fermented black beans, finely minced*
• 3 tablespoons garlic cloves, finely minced
• 4 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 1/2 tablespoons dry sherry (or mirin or white wine)
• 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 2-3 cups chicken broth
To thicken sauce:
• 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
• Broth from ribs, amount as needed


In a large pot, combine all ingredients (except broth) and mix thoroughly. Pour chicken broth over ribs until almost covered. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer. Cook on simmer for 2-2 1/2 hours until ribs are tender and fall off the bone.

When ribs are tender, transfer them to a big bowl with a slotted spoon. To thicken the sauce, remove about a cup of broth from the pot and transfer to a small bowl, then whisk in the cornstarch and soy sauce. Transfer the cornstarch mixture back to the pot with the remaining broth. Add the ribs back in and coat.

Serve over white rice.

*If you can’t find fermented black beans, omit them and the garlic, and substitute by using an 8 ounce jar of black bean garlic sauce.

Also, I cheat sometimes and just throw everything in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 3 1/2 hours. They don’t come out as tender, but still really good.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Leong September 16, 2011 at 5:18 am

This is a great recipe. Hubby love it very much. I steam the pork rib with pumkin too. The sweetness of pumpkin compliment the back bean very well.
Thanks for sharing this.




Amy September 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm

So glad you enjoyed it…there’s a pumpkin black bean soup recipe I make that I love, so I have no doubt that adding pumpkin in was yummy. Will try that sometime. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa!


lo May 25, 2011 at 6:30 am

I must have missed this the first time around — but I LOVE fermented black beans, so these are definitely going on my list. Thanks for pulling this one out again, Amy!


Kyle May 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm

::drools:: that looks SO yummy! Don’t think I’ve every eating fermented black beans though. Where do you find them? Forgive my ignorance. ;)


Stephanie @ Per l'Amore del Cibo February 9, 2011 at 9:28 am

I’m not a huge fan of black beans, but I AM a fan of pork ribs. These sound really good…minus the beans, haha. But seriously now. They sound good.

And I’ll be waiting for the pot sticker, egg roll and sweet and sour recipes. Waiting anxiously.


Kim February 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I haven’t used fermented black beans in years. It’s high time I found some!

These ribs would make me gnaw on the bones all night long–so much for my fragility, serenity and tranquility! We rabbits know a good carnivore’s meal when we see one. After all, we are very wise.


Amy February 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm

*snort* Ya, daintiness and this dish do not mix. But nobody around you will care, as they all shovel the ribs in with reckless abandon too. Go get those fermented beans. Gooooo!


UrMomCooks February 4, 2011 at 7:09 pm

This looks wonderful! I’m like you – if I see a good deal on some lean ribs I’m all over it!!! (I now want to take up swordplay – urmom sounds awesome!)


Amy February 4, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Ha. Ya…well…she hasn’t practiced in a long time. Maybe this will serve as a reminder! Thanks so much for stopping by! :D


Eliana February 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm

What an awesome looking meal. Love this combination of flavors.


5 Star Foodie February 4, 2011 at 7:20 am

Sounds like an incredible meal! Loving the rich and flavorful black bean garlic sauce!


Amy February 4, 2011 at 8:07 am

Thanks Natasha :D


Mom February 3, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Well, this post certainly brings back many wonderful memories. The secret to this recipe is making sure the sauce coats the ribs. Then the flavor permeates each bite. The fermented black beans are found in Asian markets or can be ordered on line.

A note on the side, I love the new comment and reply layout.


Amy February 4, 2011 at 8:06 am

Thanks, Mom. I like the new comment section too…and that I can reply to each person individually. Nice! There’s no doubt that the fermented black beans are far better than jarred black bean garlic sauce, but many people don’t live near an Asian market and I wanted to give them an alternative. I have made this using the jarred stuff, and in a slow cooker. No, it’s not the same, but if you’ve never had the original recipe, and don’t have it to compare to, it’s actually quite great.


Debbi Does Dinner Healthy February 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm

So you can’t just use regular black beans? This sounds really, really good! Thanks!


Amy February 3, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Thanks, Debbi. It is SO good. But no no no…nooooo regular black beans. That is not at all the same as fermented black beans, in taste and texture. If you cannot find fermented black beans, at best substitute with black bean garlic sauce.


Joanne February 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Well wouldn’t you know, I was born in the year of the rabbit! So I guess it’s my chinese birthday. And I guess calories don’t count on my chinese birthday. So I guess I should make and eat a rack of these, yeah?


Amy February 3, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Interestingly enough, by trimming most of the fat off the ribs before cooking, this isn’t a high fat/calorie dish. IMHO. Although I realize I also like cream and eat fried food. So what do I know… having said that, ya go wild, birthday girl :D


Anne February 3, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I love any recipe that also comes with “it’s okay to use the slow cooker” instructions. Even if I don’t use it, it’s nice to know it’s there, like the training wheels on a bike. Or the Valium in my purse.


Amy February 3, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Lol. Nice one, Anne.


Melissa February 3, 2011 at 10:52 am

That happy food place in my head where my favorite things reside, more often than not comprised of a parade of Asian spices and noodles and rice and meats… that’s where this dish belongs. Must. Make.


Amy February 3, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I could not have said that better myself. I hope you make it Melissa…I really do. It’s right up your alley.


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