Char siu, also called Chinese BBQ pork, is tasty roast meat from the Cantonese region. With our recipe, you can make real Chinatown char siu at home, just like in a restaurant.
Char siu, which is Chinese BBQ pork, is known all over the world. When the meat is marinated in spices, it turns a dark red color as it cooks. With a rich Chinese BBQ sauce and bean sprouts, this dish will quickly become one of your all-time favorites.
What is CHAR SIU PORK?
Cantonese roasted meat is known as “char siu”. In Cantonese, this dish is referred to as char siu (or, with a slightly different spelling, cha siu), but the Mandarin word for the same dish is cha shao. In order to prepare char siu, pork is first roasted after being marinated in a sweet barbecue sauce.
The char siu that is sold in noodle shops and restaurants specializing in roast meat in Chinatowns all over the world has acquired a distinctively sweet taste over the course of its long history. But in many establishments these days, they scrimp on the seasonings!
You will need the following ingredients :
- 400g (14oz) piece of Chinese BBQ Pork
- 1 tbsp groundnut oil
- 2 spring onions (scallions), halved and sliced into slivers
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
- 3 handfuls of beansprouts
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 120ml (½ cup) chicken stock
- 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- For the BBQ sauce
- 2 tbsp Chinese five spice
- 240ml (1 cup) chicken stock
- 2 tbsp rice wine
- 120ml (½ cup) hoisin sauce
- 120ml (½ cup) yellow bean sauce
- 2-star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 50g (¼ cup) sugar
- 3 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with 6 tbsp water
So how to make CHAR SIU PORK?
- Heat the oven to 160°C (325°F) and reheat the pork for 20 minutes on a shallow baking tray. Take the bread out of the oven and cut it into pieces.
- In the meantime, put all of the BBQ sauce ingredients, except for the cornflour mixture, in a medium saucepan, stir them together, and bring them slowly to a boil.
Turn the heat down and let it cook for 15 minutes. To thicken the sauce, slowly stir the cornstarch mixture into it. Take out the star anise and cinnamon stick and put them in a separate bowl.
- Over medium heat, heat the oil in a non-stick wok. Add the spring onions and garlic, and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, until the garlic and onions smell good. Stir-fry for another minute after adding the onion and carrot. Add the beansprouts and cook for another minute. Then add the oyster sauce, salt, sugar, and white pepper. Mix well, add the chicken stock, and heat until it boils. Once the sauce is boiling, slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the pan while stirring all the time to make it thicker. Take it off the heat, add the sesame oil, and put it on a plate to serve. Place the pork slices on top, drizzle with barbecue sauce, and serve.
How to serve CHAR SIU PORK :
As for how to serve it, here is an example of a very typical meal set that is provided at Chinese BBQ shops: slices of pork over rice with a side of steamed greens with sauce (this Steamed Chinese Greens with Oyster Sauce is similar), as shown in the picture above. This is a customer favorite at the Chinese BBQ Shop’s takeout counter.
- The mild soy sauce gives the marinade just a touch of extra salt, which is about the right amount for me. However, you may use either all light soy sauce or all regular soy sauce without any issues. Dark soy sauce should not be used (the flavor is too intense). You may learn more about the various types of soy sauce and when you can and cannot substitute them here.
- In the herb and spice department of most supermarkets, you’ll find Chinese five spice powder (a blend of spices), and it’s not any more expensive than other spices. Hoisin sauce can be substituted for the Chinese five spice powder, but only if you reduce the sugar to 1 tsp.
- Oil, or another oil with no taste.
- Red food coloring to make the pork look like what you get at a Chinese barbecue shop. This is not a must. Authentic Char Siu is colored and flavored with red bean curd, which you can find in Asian stores. Use about 2 tablespoons of the liquid, but don’t add any red food coloring.
- I use this recipe’s marinade more often than the real thing because I can get all the ingredients at the grocery store and it has a slightly stronger flavor, which makes up for the fact that this version doesn’t use charcoal.