Updated: Jul 25
Char siu, this is one of those dishes that if you haven't tried yet then you need to make it asap! This dish is usually served with rice or sometimes in noodle soup. Essentially char siu should be sweet, sticky and salty with a nice char from a roast or bbq. Hawkers still like to hang the meat although I personally feel that by hanging the pork will make the meat less moist, so I feel its only hanged in the window of Chinese restaurants for convenience. Lets make char siu with that said...
shoulder of pork joint (neck or leg would also be fine)
3 crushed garlic cloves
2 spring onions
4 tbsp hoisin
3 tbsp honey
4 tbsp fermented red bean curd
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp light soy
2 tbsp Chinese 5 spice
2 tbsp shaoxing wine
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 star anise
Begin making char siu by preparing the pork, as we are going to be slicing the meat from a whole joint we firstly need to remove the bones from the joint. We remove the bone by firstly exposing where the bone is then with a boning knife slice down the bone as close as possible and remove ensuring not to leave too much meat on the bone. Next step slice the pork into roughly 5 cm thick strips and place aside.
2. Now the pork is prepared we can now make the marinade, in a large bowl add 4 tbsp hoisin, 3 tbsp honey, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 3 tbsp light soy, 2 tbsp shoaling wine, 2 tbsp 5 spice, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, 2 star aniseed, 3 crushed garlic gloves, 2 spring onions roughly sliced and last but not least 4 tbsp of fermented red bean curd paste. You can find red bean curd from most asian supermarkets however if you cant find it, alternatively you could use dry beetroot powder. The red bean curd is used to create that bright red colour on char siu (will add an image of the bean curd jar if it helps you to find it). Once all the ingredients are added, mix thoroughly and set aside.
3. Next step season the pork lightly with a touch of salt and white pepper, then add the pork to the marinade and leave in the fridge overnight. You want to marinade for a long period of time as you want the marinades colour to penetrate into the meat.
4. When the pork has finished marinading we can choose to either bbq the pork or cook in the oven. For this dish I decided to bbq therefore I grilled it at approximately 180 degrees for around 30 minutes turning every 5 minutes to ensure the marinade Does not burn. The excess marinade can be used to baste the pork often to make a glossier char siu. If you want to bake in the oven, i recommend baking at 180 degrees for 30 minutes occasionally turning the pork. When the pork is cooked let cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
Have fun making char siu!!!!
To make char siu you could also use belly pork or even pork fillet. When using pork fillet you have to be careful not to overcook as the meat in fillet is quite lean therefore dries out quickly. As long as the cut of pork you decide to use has a good fat to meat ratio then you should be fine. Personally for this dish I think the best cut to use is pork neck. As long as the end result of your char siu is sticky, salty and sweet you should be good to go.