Dream Dish: Steamed Ribs in Brown Bean Sauce

Do you ever dream about a dish you like?  For me Steamed Spare Ribs in Black Beans is one of them. It’s a mystery to me why it’s only served as a dim sum lunch item and never on the dinner menu?  

Addictive Dream Dish! Every riblet is so tender and tasty.

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This is what makes being a Wok Star so fun, because we don’t follow rules, we swap out ingredients and often get better results than the original dish PLUS get a nice surprise! 

When I came across pork riblets at Costco recently, I immediately thought of making Steamed Spare Ribs in Black Beans for dinner. 

Video coming soon!!! I’m learning how to edit.   

About Pork Riblets
I’ve only seen pork riblets at Asian supermarkets and Costco only has St.Louis Ribs, not Spare Ribs which have more marbling. If your market or Costco don’t have riblets option, tell butcher to cut ACROSS the ribs to bite size chunks. It’s more versatile, you can make so many kinds of stews, soups and curries. I’ll share more soon.  

The secret to getting these little pork riblets tender is to steam long and on low heat in your wok. Yes, another way of using your cast iron wok. Choose a dish that’s wide and can hold some sauce! 

About Brown Beans
Steamed Ribs in Black Beans are typically made with fermented black beans but I didn’t have any and I find they are too salty and overpowering. Don’t confuse these fermented black beans with the Latin Caribbean Frijole.

The Koon Chun Brown Bean Sauce I use are more mellow and easier to prepare. They come ready mashed in a saucey consistency. This is the same sauce that comes in your Wok Star Kit. I also use this sauce in my cooking class to poach Tilapia and it’s always a big hit.

NOTE: Fermented Black Beans come in a sack and will take you a year to get through them, ha, ha. They have to be rinsed and mashed. If interested in its origins and want to try them, Chef Norman Van Aken does a great job explaining.

What to pair with?
Because Steamed Ribs in Brown Beans has quite strong flavors, it’s best to pair with a simple stir fry or blanched vegetable to complement each other. I chose Baby Bok Choy and brown rice, yum. My hubby raved about my traditional Chinese dinner, a rather rare occasion! He slurped down all the sauce with rice.

Here’s how to make this dish so you can have it anytime, it’s SUPER EASY and what a WINNER..

Serves 2 
6 ribs cut across
2 scallions cut diagonally

Brown rice 

Ribs marinade:
Koon Chun Brown Bean Sauce
Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce
Toasted Sesame Oil
Garlic and Ginger Chopped 

6-8 Baby Bok Choy bunches, split lengthways
Garlic and Ginger thwacked
Grape Seed Oil

San-J Tamari
Medium drinking sherry wine (from your local supermarket, NOT sherry vinegar)


  1. Start with cooking brown rice.
  2. Marinade ribs in wide dish.
  3. Put steamer rack OR pair of wooden chopsticks in your wok, add water to just reach top of rack.
  4. Put dish of ribs on rack and close with wok lid, switch stove to high. As soon as water boils, switch to medium low. Check every 15 minutes and add more water if needed. 
  5. After ribs finish steaming, sprinkle chopped scallions and cover to keep warm. Remove rack and empty any water. Wipe wok clean and dry.
  6. Start with blanching Bok Choy with a drizzle of grape seed oil. When tender, use colander to scoop out to plate. Empty any water. Wipe wok clean and dry.
  7. Fire up wok on high. Drizzle 3 rounds of Grape Seed Oil, add garlic and ginger, add Bok Choy.  Drizzle San-J tamari and sherry. Done.


Garlic & Ginger (aka G&G)
Start with TSPC; add Koon Chun Brown Bean Sauce, Kadoya Toasted Sesame Oil and Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce.
Use metal or bamboo rack to set dish of ribs. In my video, I show how to use a pair of wood chopsticks set apart to balance the dish. Do NOT use disposable wood chopsticks.
My wok lid is stainless steel but very light.
TA DA! Taste better than it looks. You’ll want to drown your rice in this sauce!
Look how simple this Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry is!
Split Bok Choy lengthways, they’ll cook faster!
Self Explanatory!
Blanche, empty water. Fry up with oil, sprinkle San-J tamari & sherry, DONE!

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