Blackbean Spareribs Rice in Donabe
Recipe courtesy of Vivian Chan for Food Network Kitchen

Donabe Black Bean Spareribs with Rice

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 30 min (includes soaking, marinating and resting times)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
After a long day of running errands in Chinatown with my parents, they would treat my siblings and me to a clay pot of black bean spareribs with rice. The rice soaked in all the flavors of the delicious spareribs; my favorite part was always the crispy rice that formed on the bottom of the clay pot, almost like the socarrat on paella. Once the small but extremely hot clay pot arrived at the table, my dad would drizzle in the sweet soy sauce and a sizzling sound would tell us it was time to dig in. This recipe gives the same flavors, sizzle and warmth of that dish from years ago, but is scaled for a large donabe, so it can be enjoyed as a family.


Sweet Soy Sauce:


Special equipment:
a 10- to 11-inch wide donabe that serves 4 to 5 people
  1. Using scissors or a knife, cut the strips of spareribs between each bone into about 1 1/2-inch pieces and add them to a large bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons salt all over the riblets and cover with cold water. Let soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Pour the riblets along with the water into a colander and rinse with cold water. Shake out the excess water and place the colander directly back in the bowl to allow any remaining water to drain out.
  3. Whisk the fermented black beans, cornstarch, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar, sesame oil, white pepper, garlic, ginger, Fresno chile and 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a medium bowl until combined. Add the riblets to the mixture and toss well until everything is fully coated. Marinate, refrigerated, for 1 1/2 hours, then remove from the refrigerator and marinate at room temperature for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Put the rice in a medium bowl and cover with water; drain. Repeat until the water runs clear, 6 to 8 times; drain well in a fine-mesh sieve.
  5. Meanwhile, fill a large donabe with 2 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat, add the rice and smooth it into an even layer with a rubber spatula. Cover and cook until most of the water has been absorbed but some is still visible between the grains, 3 to 5 minutes; the rice will still be raw. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil mainly along the sides of the donabe and a little in the middle. This will help create the crust on the bottom. Using tongs or chopsticks, arrange the riblets in an even layer on top of the rice (try not to include the liquid from the marinade). It is okay if the riblets touch the rim of the donabe. Cover and continue to cook over medium low until the riblets and rice are completely cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Carefully transfer the donabe to a trivet and let sit for 10 minutes. Use caution when removing the lid as the steam can burn. Top with cilantro or scallions and drizzle with Sweet Soy Sauce.

Sweet Soy Sauce:

  1. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallions, ginger and garlic and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, light and dark soy sauces, sesame oil, white pepper and 1/4 cup water and simmer until the garlic and ginger coins have softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and transfer to a small bowl until ready to serve. (The sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

Cook’s Note

Look for sparerib strips or tips in Asian grocery stores. Or ask your butcher to cut a rack of baby back ribs lengthwise into a 1 1/2-inch-wide strip.