pork ribs in garlic black bean sauce

pork ribs in garlic black bean sauce

When I was young, I had an infatuation with animals.  My dad helped feed that by buying me books on nature, animal care, mammals, orca, and a subscription to Animal magazine [or something like that.].  It was great.  I had so much fun with animals that I even dreamt of being a Killer Whale trainer.  Yeah, not a fireman, policeman, president, or even a marine biologist.  Nope, I wanted to be the man in a wet suit, at the front of an audience, with a whistle and swim with Shamu.  That was the first job I ever wanted, and I wanted to do it until my freshmen year of high school.  There were times that I would spend hours in our pool pretending the automated cleaner was some marine animal and I was its trainer.  Yes, some may have thought that I was an only child for a part of my life.

My favorite books were the ones that taught me how to make things.  I remember there was this one that taught me how to make a type of bird food.  It involved bread, seeds, and lard.  Yes, lard.  I had no idea what it was as an elementary student.  Finally, after looking through my encyclopedia Britannica and not understanding the article, my brother explained it to me.  I then rendered the fat from some pork trimmings from our supermarket, mixed it with bread and seeds, and then put it out on a table outside for the birds, but then finding out that both our dogs had eaten the plate clean.  My parents weren’t too happy with me or the dogs and I’m not sure any birds actually ate it, but I did learn an important lesson through the whole process: Lard is amazing.  And too much lard for dogs means a nine year old boy cleaning up the lawn after them.

Now, my mom never really cooked with lard, but I was able to discover its beauty when she made this specific pork rib dish.  It was a black bean dish that involved searing, braising, and then steaming.  It’s pretty darn good.  After the whole process, you are left with much more sauce than you would expect.  The reason is because all the fat from the pork ribs render into the pot, bowl while it steamed.  Usually, because it was so much fat on the top, she would let it cool and then scoop the oil off the top and then reheat the pork for us to eat to have a healthier alternative.  Thing is, I would always try to sneak the fat from her and mix it into my hot bowl of white rice.  Freaking awesome!  The taste was delicious!  It was as if it was rice with butter and a hint of pork and soy sauce.  It was velvety and smooth and just made me smile every time.  It’s actually not uncommon in Taiwanese cuisine.  I remember going to this Taiwanese restaurant in Southern California and getting something called “Sa Gwa” Noodles (translation is idiot noodles) and all it is lard, scallion, and noodles.  And yes it was heaven in a bowl.  Thank God for a good physical education program at our school.

You can get black beans in two different ways, jar form or dried.  If you get the dehydrated ones, you will have to soak them in water for a couple of hours.  Don’t cheat and get the garlic black bean sauce.  It’s usually packed full of sodium and MSG.  And, unless you are making pancakes in an outdoor kitchen, you don’t need to add more MSG to anything.


1 ½ pork ribs, slice

2 tbs black bean sauce

1 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs Chinese rice wine

1 tsp cornstarch

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tsp canola oil

1 tsp sugar


mix ribs with cornstarch in a bowl

heat oil on high with garlic and sear ribs in oil

add black bean, soy sauce, sugar and rice wine to pork and stir

braise ribs on low heat for 20 minutes (if not steaming, continue to braise for 30 more minutes)

transfer ribs into a steamer and steam for 30 minutes.

-serves 4 –


2 Responses to “pork ribs in garlic black bean sauce”

  1. 1 Doris
    January 19, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    This looks so delicious. I will try your recipes when I have time to cook.
    Best, cousin Doris

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