Monday, February 14, 2011

Char Siew/Char Siu Pork Recipe

Char siew pork with rice

Char siew pork is one of those "love at first sight" dishes. It is hard not to love slices of pork glistening with char siewy goodness, unless you don’t eat pork. In addition to good looks char siew pork possesses other desired characteristics we look for in a loved one – tenderness and a good balance between sweet, salty, spicy and tangy.

Char siew is not difficult to prepare, however there are many different variations regarding the ingredients for the marinate, cut of meat and cooking method. 

Regarding the marinate it is important to get the right balance between sweet, salty, spicy and tangy.

Ideally the cut of meat should have some fat otherwise the meat will dry up. Probably the best cut is pork belly but if you have some hesitations on using pork belly, you can use pork butt or shoulder.

The preferred cooking method is grilling. Char means fork and siew means cook/burn indicating that the meat is skewed using forks and grilled. If grilling is not convenient or practical the oven is a good substitute. That’s how I do it. You can also use a wok and finish off under the grill for the charred effect.

Pork is the preferred meat but other meats can be used. Char Siew chicken and fish are quite nice. I have never tried beef.


500g pork, sliced into strips

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tsp minced garlic or garlic powder
½ teaspoon 5 spice powder
Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon oil

1.       Mix all marinade ingredients and marinade the pork, preferably for at least one hour.
2.      Preheat oven to 2o0 degrees
3.      Cook until done, about 30 minutes, turning the meat over half way through
4.     Once cooked glaze the pork and place under the grill until it is well charred, about 5-10 minutes

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