Foolproof Chinese Black Bean Ribs

We’ve made our Chinese black bean ribs recipe countless times on the steamer, but sometimes it comes out tough, and other times overcooked. We also have to check if it’s ready or not. One day, it came to me, why not make this entire dish in the sous vide? We adapted our Chinese black bean ribs recipe and now, it’s completely foolproof!  

This dish cannot get any easier, add all the ingredients to the bag, sous vide to your desired doneness and we’re good to go straight out of the bag. 

Chinese black bean spare ribs
Making Chinese black bean ribs in the sous vide is absolutely foolproof and delicious.

Preparation 

In this recipe we used dried salted black beans but feel free to use a pre-made black bean sauce and adjust it to your taste. The first step is to roughly chop the dried black beans and garlic to release the taste and aroma. You probably don’t want those whole, the bites would be super salty. 

We use pork spare ribs that have been chopped into approximately 1 inch (2cm) riblets. We also trim some fat off the pork if it has too much, a bit of fat is totally fine. Sometimes pork has that distinct flavor and smell that may be off putting for some. To get rid of that I added ginger and Shaoxing wine. I usually slice my ginger larger as I like to remove it before serving. I think one of the worst things during a meal is biting into a big piece of ginger. The wine also helps with tenderizing. 

You’re probably wondering why we are using raw garlic in this recipe, but in this instance it works quite well. We are cooking at temperatures high enough to avoid spores and the garlic is an important flavour in this dish. 

We didn’t use salt in this dish since black beans were already salty. Instead we used oyster sauce to give it that little extra flavour. We also find that using oyster sauce instead of salt resulted in more tender ribs. This is completely unscientific and could just be in our head. 

Although this is not a spicy dish the chilies add a good kick and elevates the flavors of the ribs. Use to your taste, or leave it out completely if you want. Slice these up thin and toss into the bag together with everything else. 

If you want, save a bowl and put all the ingredients directly in a bag, mix together and sous vide for 4 hours at 165F(74C).

Results  

The ribs at this temperature come out to our liking. It has the same “mouth feel” and bite as the traditionally steamed version, but it’s juicier and more tender. At this temperature and time you’re not going to get “fall off the bone” ribs – those are overcooked anyway. It is similar in texture with our Sweet & Sour Chinese Vinegar Ribs.

Chinese black bean ribs are so good with rice.
Chinese black bean ribs are the perfect companion with a bowl of white rice.

Well, there’s not much to do here, it’s ready straight out of the bag. We poured into our serving dish and garnished it with some cilantro. The sauce here is simply amazing and goes perfectly with rice. 

Alternatively, you can make these in advance. When you’re done sous viding you can chill them in an ice bath, then freeze them. When you’re ready to have them again, you can pop them back into the sous vide at a temperature lower than the initial cook for about 45 minutes to an hour. This is something that is perfect for a stress free weeknight meal. 

If you liked how easy it was to make this recipe, check out our Sous Vide Soy Sauce Chicken. It is also ready straight out of the bag!

Foolproof Chinese Black Bean Ribs

Black bean ribs are an iconic Chinese recipe that’s super easy to prepare in the sous vide.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: black bean ribs, chinese recipes, sous vide

Ingredients

  • 600 g Spare Ribs chopped into 1" riblets
  • 3 tbsp Chinese Dry Salted Black Beans minced
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 4 slices Ginger thin
  • 1-3 Red Thai Chili thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing Wine
  • 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • Cilantro to garnish

Instructions

  • Set the sous vide to 165F (74C).
  • For the ribs, it’s a good idea to trim extra fat, these will not render that well in the sous vide. A bit of fat is totally fine.
  • Roughly mince garlic and black beans to release the flavors.
  • In a bowl, mix together the ribs, garlic, black beans, chili, ginger, sugar, sesame oil, wine, and oyster sauce. If you prefer to save a bowl, you can just mix it in the bag you will sous vide in.
  • Place into a vacuum bag and sous vide for 4 hours.
  • Remove from the bag and serve. You can garnish with additional thinly sliced chillies and cilantro for garnish.

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