Chinese Spare Ribs in Black Bean and Garlic Sauce

Chinese Black Bean Spare RibsHere’s a traditional Chinese dish that may look complicated, but is really easy to make. The main ingredient that does all the flavoring for you is a concentrated black bean and garlic sauce.  You should be able to find this in most grocery stores that have an Asian or International aisle. I like to use the Lee Kum Kee brand, but any brand should work.

Black bean and garlic sauce


  • 2 lbs. pork rib tips (if you cannot find, substitute with country style pork ribs)
  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion cut into 1/4 inch half-moons and separated
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons black bean and garlic sauce
  • 32 oz. beef broth
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice wine or mirin – not rice wine vinegar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 cup Chinese long beans cut into 1-2 inch pieces (you can substitute with fresh green beans)
  • 3 russet potatoes peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes (optional)


  1. Cut the pork rib tips into sections, leaving only one bone per section. (If you are using country style pork ribs, cut into 2 inch cubes.)
  2. In a large pot (or wok that has a lid) add vegetable oil and turn heat to medium high.
  3. When oil begins to ripple, add onions and pork. Continually stir to saute onions and pork for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add black bean and garlic sauce, enough beef broth to cover pork, rice wine (optional), sugar and stir to mix.
  5. Once broth comes to a boil, lower heat to medium low, cover pot and let cook for 1 hour.
  6. After an hour has passed, turn heat back up to high.
  7. Make a slurry in a small bowl with cornstarch and cold water. Mix well.
  8. Add remaining beef broth if any. If not add 1/2 cup water.
  9. When broth is back to a boil, add slurry mixture and stir until thickened to thin gravy consistency.
  10. Add Chinese long beans (or green beans) and potatoes (which is optional, but I like them to cut down the saltiness of the black bean and garlic concentrate.) Stir.
  11. Lower heat down to medium and cook for 20 more minutes. (10 minutes if not adding potatoes.)
  12. Serve over rice.

Makes 4-6 servings



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