Sous Vide Chinese Black Bean Spare Ribs


Carolyn Jung is a James Beard Award-winning Bay Area food journalist, whose work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Coastal Living, Via magazine, Food Arts, Edible Silicon Valley, Wine Spectator and other publications. She is the fo ...

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One of the joys of eating dim sum at a Chinese restaurant is the anticipation of the carts rolling up to the table, loaded with plates of dumplings, buns and other irresistible morsels. Black bean spare ribs are definitely a favorite that can’t be missed. They come piled into a small, shallow bowl with the ribs cut into 1-inch pieces, so they’re easy to pick up with chopsticks. The ribs are steamed with salted, fermented black beans, whose wine-y, brine-y flavor combine with the natural juices from the pork to make a delicious brothy sauce that begs for steamed rice to soak it all up. This is a dish that couldn’t be easier to make in a precision cooker. Seal everything in a bag and let it cook until the meat is tender. Afterward, just pour the ribs and sauce into a serving bowl. That’s it. No complicated finishing steps required. Ask your butcher to cut the ribs into small segments. St. Louis ribs with their abundance of fat will be juicier than baby backs, which are meatier. The choice is up to you on which style you prefer. Salted black beans are found in packages on the shelf at Chinese markets. Once the bag is opened, transfer the remaining beans to a covered container and store them in the refrigerator. They will keep indefinitely. Which is handy, since you’ll want to make this dish again and again. This dish will serve 4 to 6 people as part of a family-style meal with other dishes.
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Ingredients for 4

  • 6 tablespoons salted black beans, rinsed

  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

  • 3-5 Thai chiles or 1-2 jalapeños, stems removed and minced

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese rice wine)

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 2 1/2 pounds pork ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces


  • Step 1

    Set the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 167ºF (75ºC).

  • Step 2

    Place the black beans in a large bowl and smash to a paste with the back of a spoon. Add soy sauce, chiles, ginger, garlic, cornstarch, mirin, sesame oil, and sugar; stir to combine. Add pork ribs and coat them well with the marinade.

  • Step 3

    Transfer the ribs to a large zipper lock or vacuum seal bag. Seal the bag using the water immersion technique or a vacuum sealer on the moist setting. Place the bag in the water bath and set the timer for 5 hours.

    • Finishing Steps

    • Step 0

      When the timer goes off, remove the bag from the water bath. Transfer the contents of the bag to a large serving bowl, and enjoy.

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167 F / 75 C Recipe Temp
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