Phil's Pressure Cooker Chinese Spare Ribs ©Philip Shima

I “met” Phil over a year ago as we participated in the same cooking forum.  He’s an attentive cook and trouble-shooter, so I eventually invited him to proof-read the first pass of the up-coming hip pressure cooking cookbook.

Phil is a graphic designer and photographer (formerly  in the record industry now mostly retired) and living in the Monterey Bay area. He claims to own too much kitchen equipment and too many cookbooks (is that even possible!?) and he’s now exploring sous vide and pressure cooking.

In Philip’s own words:
I have been making this steamed dim sum dish for years in the traditional way. When I finally bought a pressure cooker, I adapted my recipe based on the info I found on Ms. Pazzaglia’s website, HipPressurecooking. The advantages of pressure cooking: a cooking time of 15 min. vs. 1 hr.; and the amount of food no longer being limited by the size of my steamer.

Phil’s Chinese Spareribs with Garlic & Fermented Black Beans (Pressure Cooker Recipe)
I used my 2.5L pressure pan for this recipe, but if I used my 6L pressure cooker, I could easily double or triple the amount of spareribs.

2.5 lbs. pork spareribs in 1”-1.5” pieces

Combine in large mixing bowl:
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 Tbl. sesame oil (Kadoya preferred)
1.5 Tbl. reg. soy sauce (Pearl River Bridge – Golden Label Superior Light preferred)
1.5 Tbl. dry sherry
1.5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground blk pepper
3 Tbl. fermented black beans, unrinsed
1/4 C. garlic cloves, sliced or chopped
1 Tbl. (optional) ginger, pureed or grated
1 tsp. chili garlic sauce (or 2-3 japones, Thai or arbol dried red chile, seeded)
1/2 C. minced green onion (plus more for garnish)Add Pork spareribs and mix well
Marinate 1/2 hr. @room temp.

Then combine with:
2 tsp. cornstarch

Add 250 ml (1 C.) water (the minimum required) to pressure cooker, then add sparerib mixture.

Bring to high pressure, cook for 15 min.
Natural release (20 min.)

Garnish w/ additional minced green onion and optional cilantro leaves

Ingredients for Beef Short Ribs ©Philip Shima

Serving Beef Short Ribs ©Philip Shima

Recipe and Photos ©Philip Shima

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  1. How much pork rib? There’s no amount in the recipe.

    1. Oops! That was my transcription error and I have corrected it. That should be “2.5 lbs. pork spareribs in 1”-1.5” pieces”

      Thanks and welcome!



  2. I’m confused. After marinating the ribs for 1/2 an hr do I add the cornstarch into the marinade? Or do you mean add it to the water and pour that over the ribs?

  3. Delia – The recipe’s procedure is in correct sequence:
    – Marinate the ribs for 1/2 hr. or so (time not critical)
    – Then mix cornstarch into the marinated rib mixture.
    – Then add water to the PC, and then add rib mixture to PC.

    Marinating without the cornstarch allows the marinade to penetrate more evenly in the short time specified. The purpose of the cornstarch is help the resulting “sauce” to cling to the cooked ribs.

    Note: This dish is better the next day – refrigerate overnight and lift the fat off.

    Note: You may want to cut back on the soy sauce and salt, depending on the brand of soy sauce and the meat-to-bone ratio that you have.

    – Phil S.

    1. Phil, this recipe is awesome. Do you have any others?

  4. This recipe is terrific! We loved it. Served it over rice rather than as a dim sum. I made a single recipe with 1 rack of back ribs, separated and the longer ones cut in half. Next time I will probably double the recipe because there are hardly any leftovers–and I’m cooking for two!

    Thanks to Phil for providing the photos of the ingredients; it made my trip through the Asian grocery store much easier. Without a visual guide, I might still be there looking for preserved black beans!

    I prepared it exactly as written. Next time I will cut back on the sodium. We didn’t need the additional salt. I may even look to see if Pearl River makes a lower sodium soy sauce.

    Overall, it’s a wonderful dish and I will be adding it to my regular rotation!


  5. I have tried 3 different pork ribs recipes. This is the best. So good. Do you have other recipes to share?

  6. My pressure cooker says use a minimum of 2 cups of water. Will it still taste as good.

    1. Although this dish creates a lot of liquid, I leave it to Laura to advise you about the minimum water needed for your PC. And I think it depends on the size and shape of your PC.

    2. You should always use at least the minimum liquid specified by your pressure cooker manual.
      With two cups, flavours will be diluted. You can always reduce the liquid at the end to get that intensity of flavour. Remove the solids the boil the liquid madly until it has reduced enough.

      Other ideas:
      1. Place the meat on a steamer rack above the water. The original recipe was steamed anyway, so this will be getting back to the original recipe which Phil said was steamed.

      2. Use pot in pot. Similar to 1. but the juices will be kept rather than dripping into the liquid.

      @tofufbrains. Minimum liquid depends on how well sealed the PC is. Weight sealed pressure cookers (and I include Electrics here) do not seal as well as spring loaded PCs so they lose more liquid. Size and shape have very little to do with it. The best option is to determine how much liquid your particular PC loses during a typical cook.

  7. Just made it last week! It’s great! Thank you. :)

    1. Oh, does Phil have a pressure cooker recipe book for Chinese dishes? We much prefer Chinese cuisine.

  8. I made this last night and it was a hit. I didn’t think the grandchildren would eat the pork. I served it over Rice and had broccoli as a side
    I’ll repeat Jay L’s comment, More Chinese!

  9. I made this recipe last night and WE love it. Thank you for sharing.

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