TOAST’s Web “Thing”

Steamed spare ribs with black beans and garlic (Pai Gwat Shu Mai)

I don’t know why I buy meat from supermarkets.  Apart from the odd crazy cut that everyone seems to miss or is marked down as some sort of loss leader, meat is both expensive and crap.  Sells like hotcakes though, and you can’t fight the market.  Hey, if the market wants “New York Cut” with 100% of fat removed, cut a quarter of an inch thick, unaged, “tenderised”, marinated in laboritory soy sauce, from a cow named “Angus” and priced at $40 a kilo, then that’s what will be sold.  I shouldn’t complain, I visit 10 different butchers on a semi-regular basis, according to what I need.  They’re all heroes to me, and put up with a lot of garbage.  However, I was at an exam all Saturday and hungover Sunday morning, so I didn’t have many options left. 

 I’ve had a hankering for some steamed spare ribs with black beans and garlic and made a recipe up from a bunch I found online.

For half a kilo of spare-ribs, cut into chunks, prepare a seperate sauce, consisting of 2 tablespoons of black beans (jarred, canned, frozen, in plastic, whatever), tablespoons of dark soy, light soy, rice wine and garlic, teaspoons of ginger, sesame oil, sugar and fresh or mashed jarred chillis.  Add half a teaspon of salt and white pepper and a piece of dried tangerine peel, soaked for a while and very finely minced.  Cook this over a moderate heat with a little peanut oil for a few minutes in a small pan.  Coat the pork in a couple of tablespoons of cornflour and put in something like a glass pie dish ready for steaming.  Pour the sauce over and mix, and steam the whole thing for 40 mintues or so.  Viola ! 

Result:  Edible.  Too salty.  Pork needed cooking far longer.  A slight “bitterness”.

What went wrong ?
– The black beans were far too salty.  I think they were packed in brine.  I’m going to try giving them a rinse.
– I’ve a problem with my dark soy sauce.  I can’t seem to find one that doesn’t taste like molasses.
– Skin on the pork ?  Doesn’t seem to work.  Need to try cooking the hell out of them, or trimming them.  Just doesn’t seem to work.
– The above recipe would probably work for clams or muscles OK.
– Always watch making a double batch.  2 serves of pork blasted by a powerful steamer would have really broken things down nicely.  This was too much, and while it was all cooked, another hour would have done some great things.
– More chillis.  White pepper is not in the orginal recipe, but an idea of mine.  Good idea.
– Try par-boiling the sods.  For as much as 20 minutes.  Can’t do any harm, there’s plenty of fat in there.
– I want to try a version with no soy sauce.  I have a strange feeling…
– Recipe doesn’t call for marination, I think that’s OK though.
– I’ve said it before, I must stop getting recipes from the web.  They’re never tested / reviewed.  All along the lines of “I did this and OMG LOLOLOLOL!!!11!! it was orgazmix !!!”.  You get value for your dollar here folks, “I fucked this up, make sure you don’t fuck it up”.

Will try again next weekend.  Not to worry, it’s all very edible, and not worse than Yoshinoya.  If you’d like to try this dish, get your ass to Yum Cha.  And invite me.  You fuckers. 

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