Pork ribs and bittergourd in black bean sauce
Pork ribs and bittergourd with black bean sauce is a zi char classic that you can replicate at home.
To get that full-on flavour, it is best to deep-fry the ribs and bittergourd.
Which cut of pork should you use in this dish? The butcher I go to recommends a portion of the spare ribs which the Amercians refer to as St Louis-style cut. It is the flatter portion of a rack of spare ribs with the sternum bone, the cartilage and rib tips removed.
The butcher says that in Mandarin, it is called 'nan pai' which literally translates to "southern ribs".
I usually request him to cut the ribs into bite-sized pieces for quicker cooking.
With a dish like that, it won't hurt to be generous with the gravy because it is frighteningly addictive to have with rice.
If it is any consolation, brown rice might be a healthier option.
- 700g pork ribs (cut into 5-cm pieces)
- 1 bittergourd
- 2 dried chillies
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 30g ginger, sliced
- 2 tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed
- 3 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp dark soya sauce
- Dash of pepper
- Pinch of sugar
- 900ml water
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tbsp potato starch
- 2 tbsp water
- 4 tbsp cooking oil
- Cooking oil for deep frying
- 3 drops of Chinese rose wine
- 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine
- 1 flat tbsp cornflour
1. Marinate the pork ribs for an hour before deep frying.
2. Soak dried chilli in hot water until softened. Rinse and set aside.
3. Halve the bittergourd lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Slice the bittergourd into thick pieces.
4. Deep-fry the bittergourd briefly in the same oil and set aside.
5. Heat 4 tbsp of oil in a wok or deep-frying pan.
6. Fry the ginger for a minute.
7. Add the garlic and fry until fragrant.
8. Add the fermented black beans.
9. Place deep-fried ribs in the wok.
10. Pour in the 900ml of water and add the dried chillies.
11. Add the oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar and bring to a boil.
12. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for an hour until the pork ribs are tender.
13. Add pepper.
14. Add the bittergourd and simmer for two minutes.
15. Mix 2 tablespoons of water with the cornflour and potato starch. Slowly stir the flour mixture into the gravy.
16. Bring to a simmering boil and serve hot.