cantonese easy cooking: steamed pork with sour plums & yellow bean sauce (梅子蒸排骨)

Looking back my post: my Essential seasoning ingredients for easy cantonese chinese cooking, so far I have not posted many recipes that use these seasonings.



Today, I would like to share another steamed dish with you: Steamed pork with sour (salted) plums and yellow bean sauce (梅子蒸排骨). This dish is very appetizing and a lot of kids love it very much, all the time the plates would be cleaned up completely as the sauce is very tasty when mixed to the rice. Some people may think steamed dishes will taste rather plain when compared to fried dishes but once you tried, you will be convinced that this is not true.


  • 300g pork chop or pork loin or even good quality of spare ribs (see notes below)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • pinches of pepper
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tsp of cold water
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • 3 salted (sour) plums (pitted & gently mashed)
  • 2 tbsp yellow bean sauce
  • a few pieces of red chili for garnish



  1. Cut the pork into bite size pieces and tenderize the pieces of pork on both sides with the tenderizer (except for spare ribs).
  2. In a bowl, marinate the pork by adding the following in order: soy sauce, sugar, pepper, water, cooking wine, corn flour, sour plums and lastly yellow bean paste. Transfer the marinated pork to a plate. Leave aside for at least 15 minutes before steaming.
  3. Boil hot water, put the steaming rack in the wok. Pour the hot water into the wok, the water level should not be over the rack. Set the stove at high heat, and when the water is boiling, place the plate onto the rack, cover the top and let it steam for about 10 minutes.
  4. When time is up, take out the plate from the wok, garnish with some red chili on top and ready to serve with rice.


  • Which type of pork to choose, if you like the meat to be more tender and juicy and do not mind a bit of fat, then you can choose spare ribs. I find it’s more difficult to find the same spare ribs as we can get in Hong Kong, simply because the style of butcher here is different. So I tend to buy pork chop which has a bit of bone or even pork loin which has the least fat but you will need to tenderize the meat with the tenderizer to make the meat feels softer after cooked.
  • If you fancy a bit spiciness, you can cut some small pieces of red chili (seeds removed in case it becomes too hot) and mix into the marinade.


4 thoughts on “cantonese easy cooking: steamed pork with sour plums & yellow bean sauce (梅子蒸排骨)

  1. I think the cornstarch in your marinade may act as a mild tenderizer for the meat! I made a Japanese version of this recipe, using pork shoulder. It marinated in a mixture of sake, egg white, and cornstarch for 30 minutes. Then the pork is fried to partially cook it. (In my recipe, the pork and vegetables are then braised in a seasoned liquid rather than steamed.) Anyway, this is a Chinese technique, usually used with chicken, called “velveting.” I’m always amazed how well it works!
    Some of the Japanese recipes omit the initial frying, as in your recipe!
    Long ago, I went through a period of Chinese cooking and there was another technique to tenderize small pieces of beef and pork. A pinch of baking soda was mixed with a small amount of water; this was mixed with the meat and left for a few minutes. More detail is gone from my memory, but it worked well. Interesting?

    By the way, are the sour plums like umeboshi?

    Hi Tess, you are right, the corn starch aids to tenderize the meat. The way you described the marinade with egg white is interesting. Do you have a post of this recipe in your blog? Yes if we make a stew, we will lightly fried the meat and veg first before adding in the liquid, just like the Radish carrot and Pork Stew in one of my early posts. To us, braising and steaming are two completely method. Steaming is considered to be any quick way of cooking after stir fried.

    As for the baking soda, this is commonly used in chinese restaurants but frankly, my brother and I hate this method since we were kids. We feel the texture of the meat although become tenderized but it will lose it naturally texture of what it should have so I will never use this method at home. If you have a good quality piece of meat, it’s not necessry to use baking soda in my opinion. In my cantonese stir-fried beef rice noodle post, I wanted to mention about the baking soda as well but I took it out as I didn’t want to criticize, but by chance you mention it, it gives me a chance to bring this up to share my view.

    The sour plums I used do not taste the same as umeboshi, they cannot be eaten on its own with rice or as a pickle side dish like umeboshi.
    Have a nice weekend.

  2. When I saw the title of your post I remembered the recipe I made with a similar name: http://1tess.wordpress.com/2008/06/28/sweet-and-sour-braised-pork/

    It was another blog we both commented on (cutonthedottedline.wordpress.com) that got me thinking about meat tenderizing. And when I re-read the recipe I made, it seemed of interest to tell you about the cornstarch/potato starch velveting, done with pork, rather than chicken! (Though I see now that you did go back to the comments.)

    Steaming (mushimono) and braising/simmering (nimono) are two different cooking methods in Japan as well.

    There are a few recipes in my book that are for steamed pork. They use grated radish, because daikon is supposed to have tenderizing enzymes. They use pork loin or pork tenderloin; both cuts are lacking fat and can be dry. The two I’ve made so far are (add the http: because I don’t want to clog up your comments with too many live links if these are not of interest to you):

    As for the baking soda technique, I did that long ago, when we were first married. We did not have much money and hardly ever ate beef. When we did, it was the cheapest available: usually chuck which makes a nice slow-cooked stew, or bottom round which I tried to roast once. (very bad idea!) It’s a cut without fat or collagen, and is quite without flavor. One could at least chew the meat…

    I’ll take your advice and not even try to remember details!

    OK. I think I know what the plums you are talking about are.

    Isn’t it amazing that there is so much to exchange in just a small topic of how to tenderize meat? Enjoyed the exchanges with you : ) Thanks for the links. Will add into my list to try out : )

  3. Woo, just want to let you know your blog is so amazing. You are really enjoying your life! I will share with my cooking experience when I get free…

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