I am a dim sum fiend and have been a regular at my go-to restaurant for more than 17 years now. That means this gweilo (aka white devil) never has to wait for a table.
It took me 13 years of regular visits to achieve my exalted status, and I am always a pampered and privileged guest. Rank hath its privileges indeed!
One of my favorite dim sum to order is “Pai Gwat”, steamed spareribs nuggets in an addictive sauce that includes Chinese fermented black beans (a great culinary weakness of mine). As it happens, this dish is not that difficult to replicate at home (unlike the majority of steamed dim sum items – one of which metaphorically sent me on a short visit to the winsome land of insanity trying to duplicate).
I hope you will have the courage to give this recipe a try, citizens – it’s worth your attention, I promise!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
¾ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2.5 tablespoons oyster sauce
5 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed twice — take ½ the beans and lightly mash them in the shaoxing
4.5 tablespoons tapioca flour
¾ teaspoon sesame oil (Kadoya brand preferred)
½ teapoon hot sesame oil
8 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon baking soda
thinly-sliced red jalapeno or fresno chilis (to taste)
1 pinch white pepper
Have butcher trim enough spare ribs so that you will have 2.5 lbs. net.
Have the butcher then cut the spare ribs into 1 or 2 inch cubes. Add cubed spare ribs to marinade ingredients (minus the tapioca starch), mix thoroughly, then massage in the tapioca starch to the ribs to seal in the flavors and refrigerate overnight in heatproof dish – bring back to room temperature before proceeding.
Put 3 cups of water in wok and bring to a boil. Put the marinade and spare ribs in a steamer and place on wok. Steam for 90 minutes, stir, place ribs in individual bowls, replenish water if needed and steam an additional 20-30 minutes. Add a few drops of sesame oil to each prior to serving.
Yield: 6 servings