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Dim Sum Ribs in Black Bean Sauce


You will need 500 grams of pork short ribs. Be sure to ask your butcher to remove the silver skin before they cut the ribs or else you have to do it yourself. Slice the ribs in between the bones into bite-size pieces. You could use longer ribs but dim sum is supposed to be bite-size treats.

Rub the ribs with 2 tsp of salt, 1/4 cup of corn starch, 1/4 cup of crushed ice and 3 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine for 8 minutes. This 8 minutes of tossing and rubbing is going to loosen up the grains and fibers, which tenderize the ribs physically - very important.

Rinse the ribs under cold running water for a few minutes or until all the starch is gone Then drain completely. This cleaning process will remove any unpleasant smell and wash off some of the Myoglobin, which is the redness that appears on the meat. If you don’t wash it, you will get a meaty, gamy taste and your ribs will be brown after cooking. This is completely optional and up to you but I do want to claim this again, as a Cantonese, we prefer our meat to have a light color and a clean taste especially when making steamed recipes.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the seasonings: 1.5 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, 1/2 tbsp of chinese cooking wine, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/3 tsp of baking soda, 1/2 tsp of sugar, 1/3 tsp of white pepper, 1/3 tsp of granulated orange peel, 2 tbsp of minced garlic (reserve 1 tbsp for later), and 2 tsp of the minced ginger (reserve 1 tsp for later). This is the marinade for the ribs.

Even though the ribs are well-drained, it is still wet. So use paper towels to absorb as much water as possible before mixing the rib with the marinade. Unlike other cooking method, steaming produces lots of moisture. If you don’t do your best to pad it dry, you will end up with a rib soup.

To get that classic dim sum rib texture, we will add 2 tbsp of cornstarch and mix well. This will create a starchy layer and protects the ribs from seizing up while cooking, which gives you a smooth velvety touch. Set the ribs aside for now.

This is fermented black soybean - the theme of the name. Run your knife over roughly. It has a strong smell and taste that will dominate the final flavor if you over use it. Some people will use pre-made black bean sauce, you can do that too, they are equally interchangeable.

Add this to a sauce pot along with the reserved garlic and ginger. Drizzle in 2 tbsp of oil. Turn the heat to medium. Stir this for a couple of minutes or until the aromatics are slightly golden on the edge. Turn off the heat. Let it cool. The color of the garlic will continue to darken.

Pour this into the ribs and stir well. This is my secret, using a mix of raw and deep fry garlic in the marinade upgrades the taste and the aroma. The oil here will wrap around the ribs and lock in all the deliciousness. This needs to be marinaded for at least 1 hour. Over night will be even better.

Place the ribs in the plate. Don’t over lab the ribs, otherwise they don’t cook evenly. Place the steamer above the boiling water and let it steam on high heat for 30 minutes. Make sure you have enough water in the pot so it doesn’t boil to dry. Sprinkle some diced scallion as garnish. Enjoy


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