Trolling my recipe box, I ran into a dish for Char Siu Pork with Capsicums. And I now have a murderous taste for it. I’ll rework and revamp this post from December 2006.
As the old saying goes, “If we had some eggs, we could have ham and eggs, if we had some ham.” Guess it’s time to make some Char Siu.
I’ve tagged this as an ingredient, as it is the basis for not just the “Pork and Peppers”, but Bao buns, ramen, noodles, and a myriad of other dishes as well.
I’ve scaled this to serve myself and my wife, others may want to multiply the portions, but do not expand so that one must crowd the sheet pan.
I’ve specified boneless pork roast here, we do want a decent amount of fat in the meat as that will add flavor and moisture to the final product. DO NOT USE PORK LOIN, it just will be too dry, A Boston Butt may be an answer if one is up to the knife work.
Char siu literally means “fork roasted” (siu being burn/roast and cha being fork, both noun and verb) after the traditional cooking method for the dish: long strips of seasoned boneless pork are skewered with long forks and placed in a covered oven or over a fire
In ancient times, wild boar and other available meats were used to make char siu. However, in modern times, the meat is typically a shoulder cut of domestic pork, seasoned with a mixture of honey, five-spice powder, red fermented bean curd, dark soy sauce, hoisin sauce, red food colouring (not a traditional ingredient but very common in today’s preparations and is optional), and sherry or rice wine (optional). These seasonings turn the exterior layer of the meat dark red, similar to the “smoke ring” of American barbecues. Maltose may be used to give char siu its characteristic shiny glaze.
Char siu is typically consumed with a starch, whether inside a bun (chasiu baau, 叉燒包), with noodles (chasiu min, 叉燒麵), or with rice (chasiu faan, 叉燒飯) in fast food establishments, or served alone as a centerpiece or main dish in traditional family dining establishments. If it is purchased outside of a restaurant, it is usually taken home and used as one ingredient in various complex entrees consumed at family meals.
Cha shao is a kind of spiced Cantonese honey roast pork. It is often also called by the Cantonese char siu or char siew. Sometimes (usually in America) it is called Chinese BBQ pork. It is very popular, and can be eaten by itself (usually cold), or used as an ingredient for other dishes such as cha shao bao (pork buns), or in noodles or rice.
The pork used should be quite fatty in order to keep the meat moist during cooking. Pork shoulder is a good choice. The meat is traditionally hung to cook, as this allows it to cook from all sides in the very hot oven. It can be laid on a rack, but if possible hang from metal S-hooks on a high rack, which are easily and cheaply available from hardware stores.
Sherry can be used instead of Shaoxing wine (also called Shao Hsing wine), but it does not provide quite the same flavour.
Char Siu – Reboot
- Sheet pan with wire rack
- 2 lb boneless pork roast Cut across grain, ~ 2-3" strips
Sauce / Marinade
- 2 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce Low Sodium
- 2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp Five Spice Powder
- 2 tbsp Honey Real Stuff
- 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1 tbsp Grated Ginger
- 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
- 1 tbsp Rice Wine
- 2 tbsp Molasses
- 1 ea Jalapeno Washed, Seeded, Minced
Sauce / Marinade
- Combine all sauce ingredients, and mix well
- Taste, Season, and balance flavors
Assembly / Roasting
- Reserve 3-4 tbsp of the sauce
- Add meat and sauce into a zip lock and rest in fridge at least overnight
- Preheat oven to at least 475, 500 is better
- Line the sheet pan with foil, and insert rack
- Retrieve meat from fridge and lay on rack, do not overlap
- Add 2 cups of water to bottom of sheet pan, keeps down smoke
- Roast pork in oven for 20-25 minutes, flip and baste with reserved sauce
- Roast an additional 20-25 minutes. The pork should be caramelized, and have a crispy skinOne can baste once again and broil for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove, baste with rest of sauce and rest 15 minutes
- Slice thin and serve, or use in additional dishes
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