Time: 30 minutes & overnight marination.
Char siu is a popular Cantonese dish which could be found in most Chinese-speaking areas across the world. In Malaysia, a country where more than 6 million Chinese (Not to be confused with Chinese from China) are living, this is no doubt another staple food that could be easily found throughout the country. Char siu (叉烧) means “fork burn”, where in the olden days people barbequed these seasoned pork strips with a long fork in over a fire. Pork belly is usually the part used in char siu to give a more fatty texture, although leaner pork are sometimes more preferable.
The char siu is usually typically seasoned with hoisin sauce (rather scarce here), five spice powder, dark soy sauce, red fermented bean curd (南乳), red food colouring (糖色) and Shaoxing wine, although a variety of the recipes has been improvised. The seasonings goes exceptionally well with the pork and is the main reason why the exterior of char siu often appears to be reddish-black.
The recipe may sound pretty much straight forward, but you need to constantly check the char siu to prevent them from burning. The grilling temperature and time may change slightly, especially if you are using a grill instead of an oven.
No doubt the making of char siu could be frustrating at times, but we assure you that it would be worth it. Cheers.
- 600 g of pork belly (五花肉) or any parts you like.
- 2 tbs oyster sauce
- 2 tbs Shaoxing wine (Alternative: Dry sherry / Chicken stock)
- 1/2 tsp of white vinegar
- 1 tsp of dark soy sauce
- [Omit if unavailable] 2 tsp black bean paste
- 2 tbs honey
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1 tbs five spice powder
- 2 tsp garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- (Colouring) 1/2 tsp beetroot powder
- Mix all the ingredients above and coat the entire pork with the marinate. Leave overnight in a fridge.
2. Pre-heat the oven up to 180 °C. If you are using a grill, set it to a medium-low flame. Add in some water under the grill to ensure it pork cook nicely. Place the marinated pork on the rack and grill it for 20 minutes.
3. After 20 minutes, spread the remaining marinate onto the char siu. Flip it over, spread the other side of the char siu. Continue the grilling process for another 15 minutes.
4. Mix 1 tsp of dark soy sauce with 1 tbs of honey. Lightly brushed the sauce on the char siu on both sides. Grill both sides at 180 °C for 2-3 minutes each.
5. Take the char siu out and let it rest for around 10 minutes. Slice it and serve with white rice and some sliced cucumbers. If you are feeling cheeky, you just can eat it by itself (Used to be a taboo in my family). You may also save up and diced some of them to make Yang Chow Fried Rice (扬州炒饭).
And, there you go. The scrumptious char siu ready to be served. Grab your chopsticks now and dig in!
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