What I love most about writing this column every week is being able to share the best, most foolproof and popular recipes from my home kitchen. This is one of the all-time greats, and I make a ton of it all winter, since it's an indoor braised-rib recipe. For years, I ate these ribs all over China, Thailand and the Indo-Malay-Singaporean triangle. This is the tastiest, saltiest, sweetest, spiciest, most amazing rib recipe for stovetop cookery that I know of. Barbecue is cooking with smoke, grilling is cooking over a fire source, and for most of us in the US, these options don't work in the cold-weather months. Where I live in Minnesota, cooking low and slow, using indirect methodology, is impossible when the temperature at night is in the 20s. But inside, I can make enough ribs in one large pot to feed four, and serve the ribs with Japanese short-grain rice; a nice, tart, vinegary cucumber salad; and sautéed sugar snap peas or Chinese broccoli. This is one of the most popular dinner events in our home.


  • 1 cup sake
  • ½ cup Chinese fermented black beans, rinsed and coarsely chopped (see Note)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 racks baby back ribs, cut into 2-rib sections (about 4 1/2 pounds)
  • 8 small dried red chiles
  • 8 cloves garlic, halved
  • 2 bunches scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths, plus thinly sliced scallions for garnish
  • Cilantro, for garnish


1. In a medium bowl, whisk the sake with the black beans, soy sauce, hoisin, oyster sauce and 1 cup of water. Let stand for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large enameled, cast-iron casserole, heat the oil until shimmering. Add half of the ribs at a time and cook over moderately high heat, turning a few times, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the ribs to a platter.
3. Add the chiles, garlic and cut scallions to the casserole and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant. Add the sake mixture and bring to a simmer, then add the ribs. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, turning occasionally, until the ribs are tender, about 1 hour.
4. Uncover the casserole and simmer over moderate heat until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Transfer the ribs to a platter. Pour the sauce into a heatproof measuring cup and skim off the fat. Sprinkle the ribs with the sliced scallions and cilantro and serve, passing the sauce at the table.


Make Ahead - The cooked ribs can be refrigerated in their braising liquid overnight.
Chinese fermented black beans are available at Asian markets.

MacGourmet downloadBaby Back Ribs with Black Beans and Scallions. To import, drag image to your MacGourmet recipe box.


Andrew Zimmern


6 servings




Asian : South East Asian



preparation times

• Active: 30 Minutes
• Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes