Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 24, 2005 06:51 PM

That elusive dimsum-style spareribs

  • s

Can't figure out how they do it -- steamed with no discernible black beans, soy or other condiments but a slice or two of red chili. I have reduced ingredients to near nothingness but still can't get that dimsum taste/effect. What is the secret? Could it be that the spareribs are some kind only restaurants can access?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Oyster sauce. Also, coat your ribs with corn starch.

    3 Replies
    1. re: theSauce

      And turn the heat up as far as you can -- or wok them over charcoal in one of those chimney starters (outside, please).

      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        The dish I'm referring to is obviously steamed, most likely indoor, that much I know!

        1. re: Sarah

          Perhaps, you should try using Lee Kum Kee prepared black bean sauce along with oyster sauce. LKK's black bean sauce is not as heavy in flavor or salty as regular black beans. Plus, garlic, soy, and other seasoning already added to the sauce. Just add wine, LKK sauce, oyster sauce, and cornstarch. Mix and steam for at least an hour or until the meat's tender.

          Just as a side note, a lot of restaurants use meat tenderizer for their beef and pork ribs.

    2. I was wondering the same thing. I made them last night using Stella Chan's recipe which called for black beans, msg, soy sauce, rice wine, salt, and sugar, and cornstarch. They smelled great but tasted nothing like the dim sum variety. They were salty, not at all 'cornstarchy' and were dark brown in color.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jen

        Jen, I've tried a bunch of dimsum recipes, but they all end up tasting like the regular steamed spareribs in b/b sauce -- not a bad thing, but not what I'm looking for in this case. Maybe my friends are right, I should get a job in a dimsum kitchen(hah!) and glean the secret...

      2. steam it in your rice cooker while cooking rice... black beans, a little soy sauce and rice wine... that's it

        my mom makes it perfect

        1. This might be what you're looking for:


          6 pork ribs (about 1 1/4 lbs.), cut in half
          1 1/2 tbsp Fermented black beans
          1 1/2 tsp. sugar
          1/4 tsp. crushed garlic
          2 tbsp. light soy sauce
          1 tsp. dark soy sauce
          2 tsps. rice wine (Shaoxing, or in a pinch, dry sherry)
          2 tbsp. water
          1 tbsp. vegetable oil (or peanut)
          1 fresh red chili pepper (optional)

          Wash the beans and dry well (this will get rid of the strong saltiness). Chop them coarsely and mix with the remaining seasoning. Place the ribs in a dish and cover with the prepared seasonings and marinate about 1 to 2 hours. Set the dish on a rack in a steamer and steam until pork is completely tender, about 1 hour. If using the chili pepper, add before steaming.

          1. I have had the same problem, butnow usually get it right.
            First I cut the cheap cut, as that is what is used, almost like the bottom of the side rib in small bites, and lightly coat them with cornstarch.
            I also grate a bit of ginger, and garlic, a teaspoon of sesame oil, and some scallions.
            Not too much soy, and just a few crushed black beans go a long way.
            I don't use wine or two kinds of soy, just light soy.
            Making them small requires a shorter cooking time, and you don't get that awful "stewed taste".
            They should be eaten when they still have some "tooth".
            I put them in a bowl in the steamer to preserve the liquids.
            You could put a pinch of baking soda into the soy rather than MSG.