Saturday, September 26, 2009

Homemade Char Siew

29 comments:
 
First attempt at Char Siew
This weekend's fun project was making char siew for the first time. Turns out it's a lot easier than I thought - just marinate and roast. The best thing is, you can omit the red food colouring. I adapted the ieat Fatty Cheong recipe (see below).


First attempt at Char Siew
The char siew turned out not bad, but still missing a certain something. It is a bit too salty (I started marinating a day before roasting). But at least it's not cloyingly sweet. The surprise ingredient here was taucheo (bean paste) - I never knew char siew involved this. I'm not crazy about taucheo so I reduced the proportion used but the flavour came out quite strongly still.

These are the measurements I used. By the way, this makes A LOT OF MARINADE. You can easily soak 1kg pork in this.

0.5 kg Pork Collar (if you like it juicy) or Pork Shoulder (if you like it leaner)
250g Sugar
150g Oyster Sauce
100g Bean Paste (Taucheo or Dou Jiang)
100ml Soya Sauce
2 teaspoon Rice Wine
2 teaspoon Black Soya Sauce
I omitted the red food colouring, but you can put 1 tsp if you like.

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Mix all the ingredients together and marinade the meat in it for at least an hour (overnight is best).

2. Roast in a moderately hot oven for half an hour, turning and basting the meat till it is cooked and slightly charred.

I roasted it in my tabletop oven, 200 degrees C for half an hour (basting halfway and at the end), and then at 240 degrees for another 10 minutes for greater char.


First attempt at Char Siew
Oh yes, my favourite parts are the charred bits.


First attempt at Char Siew
Well, now I can say I have made both char siew and roast pork. Still prefer the latter over char siew though.

Oh the other thing to note is that the pork shrinks a bit after roasting. I thought I might have leftovers to make char siew pao but it was all gone in one meal.

Addendum: Was talking to Tiantianchi on Facebook and he suggested adding a pinch of five-spice powder and even using rose dew wine 玫瑰露 instead of rice wine. Fantastic ideas! I'm also thinking of experimenting with miso honey combinations rather than taucheo.

29 comments:

  1. Looks uber professional to me! Always thought that to make char siew, it would have to be done rotisserie style, with some uncle sweating away in a backlane of a kopitiam. LOL.

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  2. Looks so awesome & delicious! Great with anything or even on it's own. Love it.

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  3. Ooh, looks so yum! And you managed to achieve the charred effect, too. :) Next time, double or triple the amount so you can save the leftovers for another day!

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  4. char bo, your char siew is charred!

    haha.. but its looks great for a 1st attempt.. will u try siew yoke next ? :p

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  5. Audrey: Thanks! Me too, I thought char siew needed complicated roasting. But the sweaty uncle backlane versions still taste better (maybe cos got "extra" ingredients!

    Mary: Thank you!

    Julia: Yeah, I should have made more, but I wasn't sure I could pull it off. So try a little bit first!

    Eggtoast: hah, to me, it's still not charred enough! MORE CHAR PLEASE! And I guess you haven't seen my siew yoke. I made that first a long time ago, am not a fan of char siew actually. I put the roast pork link above too.

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  6. Oh how the skin glistens! Looks mouthwateringly good!

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  7. looks absolutely delish! i love charsiew... especially charred ones=D

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  8. Looks moist and juicy. The colour is gorgeous! Very impressive indeed!

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  9. oh my god.. it looks damn delish....... can you invite me to dinner one day?

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  10. That's a great recipe. I used one that involves maltose which of course is not easily available over here so I thought that was the end of it but now I will try yours.

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  11. I have to say your efforts look much better than some of them plastic-red char siew available outside any day. Good job! :D

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  12. I liked char siew better than roast pork & YES especially the charred bits. From the photos, it looks delicious ! Good job !

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  13. I was interested to read your recipe. I make char siu regularly, it's one of my favourites. Surprisingly, your recipe is totally different to mine but yours looks delicious nonetheless. If you want to try a different version, check out my recipe. It's listed under labels of Pork & Chinese.

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  14. Gorgeous piece of meat with the look that can out beat many char siew stalls out there.

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  15. I have an Asian market just down the street and I buy my BBQ pork there all the time. I always wondered how they made it. Can't wait to make my own. Thanks!

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  16. In my experience, if you know what you're doing, home cooked roasted meats are far superior than a restaurant/hawker stand. Here are a couple of tips to consider:

    1) To ensure the char siew is not too salty, carefully measure the Oyster sauce, soy(a) sauce and bean paste. These three ingredients have lots of sodium, particularly the bean paste. I would recommend reducing the soy/a and oyster sauces by 2/3, and only use 1/4 of the bean paste...you want the flavors, not the sodium. I like to use low salt Kikoman (green label) soy sauce.

    2) I agree with the recommendation to add five spice powder...this ingredient really enhances and complements the marinade and natural pork flavors. Plus you get the added benefit of enfusing the kitchen and entire home with the fragrant five spice aroma while the char siew is roasting. In the marinade, I also like to add 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper, and if I can find it, dry garlic powder and onion powder (for some reason, the markets in SG don't sell this...).

    3) To minimize clean up, before putting the marinaded pork into the roasting pan, line the pan with aluminum foil. Just be careful when you baste the pork so that you don't puncture the foil...if you are roasting lots of pork, I recommend putting down an extra layer of foil, just in case. There's nothing worse than soaking and scrubbing a roasting pan after a delicious meal (and a few glasses of beer and/or wine).

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  17. Thanks, everyone.

    Yes, anonymous, I did think it was a lot of oyster sauce, soy sauce and salty bean paste. But since this was my first attempt, I didn't veer too far from the original recipe and only reduced bean paste. Now I know better.

    Five spice powder definitely! Also agree on placing foil or parchment in the pan. Not a fan of strenuous scrubbing!

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  18. roasted pork belly, check. char siew, check. next up, roast duck! you'll be on your way to an excellent roast lunch soon! remember to include cucumber and a yummy chilli dip, ya! :)

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  19. Nic, hahaha, sorry but there'll be no roast duck, cos no one in my household will eat that! Hmm, what shall I cook next?

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  20. wow your siew yoke looks gd too... why not try suckling pig next? l'll be your guinea pig :p

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  21. Haha eggtoast, thanks, and you are very funny too. But what if I roast the wrong pig later? Guinea pig instead of suckling pig? lol

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  22. Does anyone know where I can find roast suckling pig in Singapore? I am not looking to buy an entire roast pig, but rather a decent portion with the thin, crispy skin served over steamed rice. Please advise. Thanks.

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  23. Omigod, your charsiew looks so yummy!

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  24. Anon: for suckling pig...some Chinese restaurants may serve single diner portions - no harm asking. Anyone else can advise?

    KennyT: thanks!

    Liverpool: haha, sorry, I only made half-kilo and it was all gone in one meal. Next time will make more!

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  25. Char Siew has got my mouth watering today! Will introduce this recipe to the American BBQ palette this summer. It's "Universal BarbecuedelatiOn"! Thanks for sharing.

    Now, anyone know of an herbal mutton soup stall in Singapore? There was a great one in Woodlands, but it left in the middle of the night 4 years ago, with me wanting more.

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  26. Thanks, Sauce ElatiOn! But do note that this recipe is still (like most of my other recipes) a work-in-progress. You can factor in some of the advice given in the comments too.

    Herbal mutton soup - there's one at the Marine Parade Central hawker centre. It's decent but probably not as wonderful as the one you remember.

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  27. Yes indeed, cooking is about works-in-progress. Thanks for the tip on the herbal mutton soup stall :) The stall I was referring to had an herbal broth as well as a creamy stew. With rice either one was a super meal. I should try to recreate it, because it would sure be the rage in Chicago or Singapore.

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