How to make it

  • 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Soak the fermented black beans in 2 cups of warm water to reduce their saltiness, about 20 minutes. Drain the beans, then toss with the soy sauce, rice wine, and garlic; set aside.
  • 2. Meanwhile, pat the ribs dry with paper towels and season with pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half the ribs and brown all sides, 7 to 10 minutes, reducing the heat if the pot begins to scorch. Transfer the ribs to a plate and repeat with the remaining ribs.
  • 3. Pour off all of the fat left in the pot, add the black bean mixture, and cook over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits, until most of the liquid has cooked off, about 1 minute. Return the ribs to the pot and add 5 3/4 cups of the water. Bring to a simmer then cover and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours, rearranging the ribs halfway through the cooking time so that all the ribs become moistened with the braising liquid.
  • 4. Transfer the ribs to a serving platter and tent loosely with foil. Pour the braising liquid into a fat separator and set aside to settle, about 4 minutes. Pour the defatted sauce back into the pot and return to a simmer over medium-high heat. Whisk the cornstarch with the remaining 1/4 cup water to dissolve, then whisk into the sauce. Continue to simmer the sauce, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Pour some sauce over the ribs, reserving the rest to serve at the table.

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