A big event this week in Asia is the Chinese Lunar New Year, a moveable feast annually so I’m cooking Asian Braised Pork Ribs with Black Beans. If you’re travelling to the Philippines or other Asian countries, be ready for big parties among family and friends. Filipinos love to celebrate Chinese New Year. Traffic will be heavy. Hotels and restaurants will be fully booked. Shopping malls will be offering tempting bargains. There will be parades and firecrackers in Chinatowns all over. Families come from far and near to eat and be together to herald good luck and prosperity into their homes. And many traditions are still practiced by Asians to this day during the Chinese Lunar New Year, even those who live here in America:
- Red and gold good luck wishes for health, happiness, and prosperity are written in gold ink over red pieces of paper.
- Steamed lunar New Year cakes appear on every table this time of the year.
- Little snacks of broiled “sweetmeat” or sugar-glazed dried pork are often served.
- Houses are cleaned from top to bottom. Traditional dishes are prepared to symbolize abundance and prosperity.
Sometime ago, I signed up for a cooking class in New York city with Chef Kho Kian Lam, author of the beautiful cookbook of traditional Chinese cooking Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees . It was a hands-on cooking class and we learned to make several dishes: dumplings and the homemade wrapper and a recipe for steamed pork ribs with fermented black beans. I was inspired by Chef Kian’s recipe when I cooked these ribs for our Chinese New Year dinner at home.
I added a step to the process and braised the pork ribs in a saucepan. First, I steamed the pork ribs over briskly boiling water till the meat nearly fell off the bone and the beans softened. Then I transferred the ribs and beans to a saucepan to braise for a few minutes. The results were a very appetizing pork main course. The ribs were soft and succulent. The flavors were salty and sweet altogether. The gravy had reduced to a slight thickness which added to the richness of the whole meal when poured on boiled rice.
The Asian aromas from the rice wine and sesame oil followed the trail from the kitchen to the dining table. It was hard to resist. I didn’t even have to holler ‘dinner’s ready’ to the family. The sight and scent of the sweet, juicy pork ribs beckoned everyone. We were blessed with the bounty of good food on our table and that was all the prosperity I could wish for at this moment.
Asian Braised Pork Ribs with Black Beans
- 3 Tablespoons dried black beans soaked in water overnight; drain before cooking
- 2 pounds pork ribs, bone-in bone-in, cut into 2-inch length pieces
- 2 Tablespoons Shaoxing rice cooking wine
- 1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
- 1 knob fresh ginger peeled, sliced in 1-inch strips, about 1 Tablespoon
- 4 cloves garlic peeled, minced garlic
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 stalks scallions chopped, for garnish
Prepare the black beans:
- In a small bowl filled with water, soak the dried black beans overnight in the refrigerator.The next day, drain and discard the water before cooking. Set the beans aside.
To cook the pork ribs:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ribs, rice wine, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, salt and black pepper. Incorporate the ingredients well into the ribs. Let the marinated ribs sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator for the flavors to set.
- Coat the ribs with cornstarch.Place the coated and marinated ribs in a round, rimmed plate that fits into your steamer.Pour the black beans all over the pork.Prepare the steamer. Fill the bottom pot with water and cover. Over high heat, let the water boil. When water is boiling, place the layer of the steamer filled with the pork ribs and beans on top.
- Cover and steam the pork ribs and beans over briskly boiling water for 45 minutes.Using a fork, check to see if ribs are tender enough and cooked completely. Remove the ribs and beans.Catch the drippings left in the rimmed plate and set this aside. You will pour this later into the sauce pan.
- In a large sauce pan or skillet, over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough in about 2 minutes, add the steamed pork ribs and black beans.
- Stir the ribs around to brown evenly in the oil. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes.Pour the broth and the drippings over the ribs and beans. The gravy will reduce to a thick consistency in about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Arrange the ribs and beans with the sauce on a serving platter. Garnish with scallions. Serve warm with boiled rice.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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