Char Siu (Barbecued Pork)

Char Siu (Barbecued Pork)

Nothing is more evocative of the flavour of street food in South East Asia than the following recipe. It is a basic ingredient in lots of cooking, has the advantage of being better when made in bulk, and freezes beautifully, thus providing a useful standby on an evening when you stand in your kitchen with a blank mind and almost empty shelves.

Surprise Yourself…

  • 2 pork fillets
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • thumb-sized pice ginger (no need to peel)
  • 1 large or 2 small onions
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • ½ tsp 5spice powder
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp scarlet food colouring

NB the food colouring is authentic in so far that the locals use it, but you may omit it if you prefer.

  1. Place the pork fillets in an ovenproof dish.
  2. Blend the onions, garlic and ginger together until you have a paste.
  3. Add the other ingredients to the paste and spread over the meat. Cover with cling film or a cloth.
  4. Marinate the pork for a minimum of 3-4 hours, but preferably overnight.
  5. Either barbeque, or roast in the liquid at 180 degrees, basting occasionally, for about 45 minutes. Leave to rest for 10 minutes then slice thinly.

There are various ways of serving this:

  1. If barbequing, leave it till the end when the grill has cooled down. This applies even if your standards have slipped and you are using gas (it has to be served at the end because everyone will wolf it down!).
  2. If oven-cooking, roast then slice and serve on a bed of Chinese leaf, accompanied by rice and other Chinese dishes.
  3. Serve with rice and some of the sauce, and a fried egg (‘over easy’ as the Americans would say) placed on top – yes, really!
  4. Any leftover pieces can be chopped very finely and added to fried rice or noodles for that really authentic version (there’s unlikely to be any, but you may know some odd people!)
  5. And finally, the soup! See our Mee (Noodle) soup recipe for a delicious light meal or starter.

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