Char Siu

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Thinking about the recipe for this week, my hungry brain suddenly sent me back to a steaming plate of rice and shiny slices of Chinese BBQ pork – Char Siu. When I was a child, I used to sit and hold on tight to my mom’s waist, as she drove her motorbike through Hai Ba Trung street. Passing through all the chicken rice stores, I could not help but looked back and drooled. Though I were young, my love for food was already getting big haha. Beside the heavenly fragrance and juicy golden rice, my all time favourite is Char Siu.

One of the keys to cooking awesome Char Siu at home is to choose the right type of pork cut. Many recipes will call for pork belly, but I think it is too fatty to make Char Siu, as it won’t give the right texture. Pork loin is a healthier option, but you really have to watch the cooking time, as it can dry out fast. In my opinion, the best cut for Char Siu is pork shoulder or pork scotch fillet (aka pork neck). These cuts of meat are perfect, since it has amazing marbling throughout the meat, which will keep you Char Siu nice and moist during the cooking process. It also has that springy texture you would find in restaurant-quality Char Siu.

The marinade for this recipe is fairly simple too, with ingredients that you might already have in your pantry. But there is one special element: red fermented beancurd. Very popular in Chinese cuisine, marinating with red fermented beancurd will give your dish a depth in flavour and the most important factor – the colour. This ingredient is our key to that velvet, charred red colour that you usually see in an authentic Char Siu. Many restaurants will also use food colouring to enhance the colour, but I will not recommend that.

Timing also plays an important role. In order to achieve the most perfect Char Siu, you should marinate the meat for at least one day, or two days (even better!). Though it sounds like a long time to wait, trust me, it will all worth your while.

THE RECIPE

Char Siu

Serving 2-4 people

Prep time Cook time
15 mins  45 mins

Ingredients:

Pork shoulder/pork scotch fillet: 1 kg
Five spice powder 1 tsp
Red fermented beancurd 2 beancurd
Soy sauce 20gm
Dark soy sauce 15gm
Oyster sauce 40gm
Hoisin 40gm
Shaoxing wine 10gm
Sugar 40gm
Honey 20gm

Method:

1. Divide the pork into 2 equal strips. Place it into a big enough container

2. Combine all the marinade in to a bowl. Make sure you smooth out the beancurd

3. Drizzel the marinade over the pork, make sure it is nice and coated

4. Cling wrap the container and place it in the fridge for at least 1 day or 2 days for even better colour and flavour. You can do a test to see the differences, after 1 day cook 1 strip first, then cook the second, one day later.

5. Preheat your oven to 200*C. Place the marinaded pork onto a baking rack with laid baking foil tray underneath. Place the pork in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.

6. After 25 mins, take the pork out of the oven, and glaze it with the marinade, then put in back into the oven again for another 10 minutes.

7. Meanwhiles, combine 2 tbsp of honey with 2 tbsp of water for your final glaze. After 10 minutes, take the pork out again, brush with the mixture and place it back to the oven for the final 10-15 mins.

8. Bring the marinade to the boil and use it as the sauce for your Char Siu.

9. After 10 minutes, you Char Siu is done!!! Let it rest for at least 15 minute before slice into it. Enjoy with hot steamed rice and you Char Siu sauce !!!

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