My late mum never ever steamed pork ribs for us. Pork ribs only appeared in soup that was cooked for many hours until it fell off the bone. I am rather nervous when I decided to blog this recipe as I am wondering how long will it need to steam a piece of pork rib such that it is soft and juicy meat. I have watched many videos and read up many recipes to confirm my understanding and most if not all required a very short steaming time, about 10-20 minutes depending on the size of pork ribs used.
When I took my first bite, I am really happy as the meat is not tough. It is not as soft as it will fall off the bones but the texture is just nice like stir frying meat pieces. I knew that I am successful in preparing this recipe and it was confirmed by my choosy boy, who kept telling me that the dish is delicious. From this illustration, I understand that as long as meat is not overcooked, it is soft and tender. If it is overcooked, the meat will become hard and chewy. Only via long hours of stewing or braising, one can break the meat fibre and become soft again. However, the meat will not regain its tenderness.
This is in fact a simple dish, much simpler that most household dishes. We always made assumptions that dishes served in the restaurants are difficult to prepare at home due to complicated procedures and ingredients. But this dish is overly simple, mix, marinate, steam for a short period of time and it churn out a restaurant style of dish.
This dish is a very common household dish in Hong Kong and Taiwan. It is also one of the common meat dishes served in Cantonese dim sum restaurant. Another such dish is the chicken feet steamed with fermented black beans.
The main flavouring ingredients of this dish is dou chi or 豆豉 aka fermented black soya beans. These beans are generally salty but I did ever tasted some fermented black beans that is sweet produced by Taiwanese manufacturers. We usually used these beans to stir fry bitter gourd or as a flavouring agent. Per Wikipedia:
“Douchi is made by fermenting and salting black soybeans. The black type soybean is most commonly used and the process turns the beans soft, and mostly dry (if the beans are allowed to dry). Regular soybeans (white soybeans) are also used, but this does not produce “salted black beans”; instead, these beans become brown. The smell is sharp, pungent, and spicy; the taste is salty, somewhat bitter and sweet. The product made with white soybeans is called mianchi (麪豉; miànchǐ).
WHAT IS REQUIRED
- 600 grams of pork short ribs (小排）
- 30 grams of fermented black soya beans (豆豉）
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of dark soya sauce
- 1 tablespoon of lard or cooking oil (optional)
- 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon of minced ginger
- 1/2 egg white
- 1/2 tablespoon of castor sugar or 1/2 teaspoon of chicken stock powder
- 1 tablespoon of minced red chilli
- 1 tablespoon of chopped spring onion
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Soak the pork ribs in cold water for at least 1/2 hour. One of the purposes of this step is to reduce the strong piggy flavour in the meat. Since this recipe has very short cooking time, this step is deemed necessary. Secondly is to wash away the bloody water that may dirty your dish when steamed. Thirdly is to incorporate moisture to the meat. Once done, drain and pet dry using the kitchen towel.
- For the fermented black beans, put about 1/2 cup of water and rinse the black beans. Some black beans are very dirty and this will help to wash away the dirt and sand. Secondly, as the black bean can be rather salty, rinsing can reduce the saltiness. If preferred, you can break the fermented black beans into smaller pieces. However, the colour of the dish will be stained into much darker colour shade.
- In a bowl, put all the ingredients in a bowl. Use hand to mix it thoroughly and slightly massage the meat. Let the meat marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour. If time permits, you can marinate for a longer time.
- Get ready a steamer with adequate water capable of steaming for at least 15 minutes. Bring to boil.
- Transfer the marinated pork ribs to your steaming plate. Make it as thin as possible especially the middle part. Steam at high heat for 12-15 minutes. Timing will be very much depend on the size, quantity of your pork ribs and height of your stacked meats. To check the doneness, use a skewer to pierce the thick part of the meat and ensure no blood water secreted.
- This dish has to be consumed hot from the steamer. Once cooled, you will have to heat up before serving. It is best served with steaming hot rice or porridges.
I am happy with this simple dish though I spend a lot of time researching for the recipe. For this dish, you can ask the butcher to cut for you the smaller sizes suitable for steaming. You can also ask them to recommend the type of ribs suitable for this dish.
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