Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Slow-Cooked Chinese Black Bean and Garlic Pork Riblets

One of my favorite items at a local dim sum restaurant is the Black Bean and Garlic Pork Ribs. Served steaming in a little ramekin, the succulent little morsels always leave me wanting more. The classic flavor trio of fermented black beans, garlic and ginger pairs perfectly with the rich, slightly fatty pork ribs. Typically prepared by steaming, I adapted this recipe for the slow cooker by amping up the more flavorful ingredients and finishing with a touch of toasted sesame oil at the end. An easy to prepare appetizer, these would also be a perfect part of a multi-coarse Chinese meal.

Slow-Cooked Chinese Black Bean and Garlic Pork Riblets
by Gary
Makes 6-8 appetizer-sized portions

4 pounds cross-cut pork spare ribs, cut into individual riblets, about 1” size
4 Tablespoons salted fermented black beans, soaked briefly, rinsed, drained and slightly mashed
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon black vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
3 Tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Special equipment: 6-quart slow cooker, such as the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

Rinse riblets with cold water; pat dry.

In a large bowl, combine riblets with black beans, garlic, ginger, black vinegar, salt, pepper, brown sugar, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Toss to mix well. Add corn starch and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate 4-6 hours, preferably overnight.

Spray slow cooker insert with cooking spray. Pour riblets into cooker, cover and cook four hours on HIGH. Stir once, halfway through cooking time.

To serve, carefully remove riblets with a slotted spoon, leaving behind fat. While ribs are still hot, drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with chopped green onions. Serve immediately with lots of napkins.

Cook’s note: Commercially jarred black bean and garlic sauce may be used instead of the fermented black beans and garlic called for in the recipe. Use 3 Tablespoons of the jarred sauce at the beginning of the recipe, then stir in an additional Tablespoon when stirring the ribs halfway through cooking.

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