Dao Si Pai Guet (Black Bean Spareribs)

Oh my goodness, this dish is soooo goooood ^_^

Dao si pai guet, aka black bean spareribs, is one of my all-time favorite dishes!  If I got to choose my last meal on earth, this would be it.  Just thinking about it is making me drool.  Chinese black beans (dao si in Cantonese or dou shi in Mandarin) taste very different from the black beans you might be used to eating.  Dao si is fermented and salty.  (I’ve only found them in Asian food stores and recently discovered you can buy them online).  Part of the allure for me probably lies in the fact that it’s hard to find really good dao si pai guet.  Instant dao si in grocery stores is not the real thing.  And forget about finding a restaurant to try this delicious dish.  Ninety-nine percent of the time they don’t have it, or if they have it, it’s not worth eating.  Restaurants’ dao si is usually immensely watered down.

The strangest part of not being able to find good dao si pai guet at restaurants is that it is SO VERY EASY to make.  So… I’m going to share my mom’s family recipe with you (my paternal grandmother’s recipe is a little different).  If you want to experiment, please do so by all means.  But with this dish, I personally think that less is more.  This recipe yields very tender meat with bold and fragrant flavors.  It will make you close your eyes and smack your lips.  I love popping a bite into my mouth, stripping the bone of its meat and sucking out all the marrow.  And the sauce – oh my goodness, don’t even get me started!  I can eat a salad bowl full of hot, freshly made rice drizzled with this sauce all over it.  NOM NOM NOM….

I make dao si pai guet with small and big pork ribs.  If you want small ribs, ask the butcher to cut the rack into 1” strips, lengthwise, then cut it up further into 1”x1” chunks.  Sometimes I do that last part myself.  I especially love getting fatty pork ribs (they say southern style on the package) and making this recipe.  What a treat!!  I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as my family and I do.  ^_^

This recipe serves about 6.*

Doo doo doo, nothing to see here, just a bunch of beans and garlic cloves hanging out ^_^


1 lb of meat (can use pork, beef, etc. I've even tried it with oxtail)
1/4 cup of fermented black beans (dao si)
2 medium to large cloves of garlic
1 cup of water

(1) Rinse the meat and cut to desired size, if needed.  
(2) Blend the beans and garlic into a paste.  Adding a little bit of water helps.  I like to use a mortar and a pestle, but you can use a food processor or blender, too.
(3) Brown the meat in a big pot, then add the bean paste and water.  Stir it all together.  Bring it to a boil and then turn it down to simmer for 40 minutes.  Make sure the sauce is simmering and bubbling over the meat.  If it isn't, turn the meat over at the 20-minute mark.

My mom says: each stove is different.  If there isn't enough sauce, you can add starch and water.  Mix 1 tablespoon of starch (corn or tapioca) with 1 cup of cold water.  Mix it well.  Stir the meat while adding the starch mix to get an even mixture.


  1. mouth is watering thinking of the last time you made this for me

  2. yay!!! the post about dao si pai guet is finally here :).