I’ve been eating this dish for as long as I can remember. Steamed black bean pork is a Cantonese staple served in the home and also at some restaurants, mostly yum cha. It takes many subtle flavours to empower pork ribs and a distinct black bean. There are two substitutes for pork; the first is chicken, using wings or breast and the second is tofu, as a vegan option. I like tofu puffs, bought at Asian grocer. Also always ask the butcher for female pig, the male has a pungent, dirty smell. It costs no extra for you or the butcher!
Chinese black beans are readily available in sealed packages at any Asian grocer, always! My favourite thing about Chinatown other than eating was trawling through Asian grocers, #gaysianatheart
There is nothing more to this dish than good marinating and intuition, and it’s easy done. My parents never use measurements for this recipe and I do the same, but for the purpose of this post, I’ve given my personal approximations. I like robust, salty and tender goodness. Always look at what you’re cooking with and cook with feeling, altering the measurements to your taste.
250g pork spare ribs
2 tbsp black beans
¼ cup soy sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 shallot/scallions diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp corn flour
1 tbsp white sugar
½ tsp salt
Start by placing the semi hydrated black beans in warm water for five to ten minutes. Combine all ingredients except the corn flour with pork and massage the meat. The sugar will tenderise the meat and remove the slightly bitter edge of the black beans with a subtle sweetness. The last ingredient to add is the corn flour; this will thicken the remaining sauces and coat the pork.
Leave the pork to rest and marinate, allowing the flavours to meld – this is key!! Once marinated steam for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender and cooked through. Thick, dark green Chinese vegetables are always really nice to pair with this dish. They are really clean, but intense with natural flavour.