What is Char Siu?

A sweet and savoury roasted pork dish, Char Siu, a beloved dish originating in Guangdong, is a flavorful and versatile food enjoyed in various ways. If you walk by a Chinese BBQ restaurant, every single one will always have Char Siu hanging on its hooks by the window.

Origins of Char Siu

Char Siu originates from Cantonese cuisine, and the word chā sīu 叉烧 means “fork roasted,” which is a nod to the traditional cooking method of skewering seasoned pork with long forks and placing them in an oven or over a fire. This dish has a long history, with royal recipe books dating back over 3,000 years to the Zhou dynasty featuring similar grilled dishes.

The Ingredients You Need

700g Rindless Pork Belly:

The use of rindless pork belly to Char Siu (Chinese BBQ pork) brings a succulent and flavourful element to the dish.

Four large garlic cloves finely chopped:

The addition of finely chopped garlic to the dish of Char Siu (Chinese BBQ pork) contributes an aromatic flavour to the dish.

A thumb-sized piece of ginger peeled and finely chopped:

Ginger adds a warm, spicy, and slightly sweet flavour to the marinade, enhancing the overall aromatic profile of the dish.

4 tbsp tomato ketchup:

Tomato ketchup provides a tangy and slightly sweet taste to the marinade, balancing out the savoury and umami flavours of the other ingredients.

Hoisin sauce offers a rich, sweet, and savoury flavour with hints of garlic and fermented soybeans, giving the Char Siu its signature taste.

4 tbsp golden caster sugar:

Golden caster sugar adds sweetness to the marinade, caramelising during cooking to create a sticky glaze on the pork.

Dark soy sauce contributes a deep colour and rich umami flavour to the dish, enhancing the overall savoury profile of the Char Siu.

Rice vinegar provides a subtle tanginess and helps balance the sweetness of the sugar and hoisin sauce in the marinade.

2 tbsp sunflower oil:

Sunflower oil helps bind the marinade ingredients together, adds moisture to the pork during cooking, and aids in achieving a glossy finish on the Char Siu.

How To Cook This Dish

This one will take a while to cook, to perfect its taste, so make sure you’ve got an afternoon free for it slowly cook!

  1. To cook Char Siu pork, start by preparing the marinade with a combination of flavorful ingredients. In a bowl, mix 4 tablespoons of tomato ketchup, 4 tablespoons of hoisin sauce, 4 tablespoons of golden caster sugar, 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil to create a highly flavoursome marinade.

  2. After this, pour the marinade mixture onto the pork and refrigerate overnight, so that the marinade can soak into the meat.

  3. The next evening, heat your oven to 160C, 140C fan or gas 3, cover your baking tray/tin with tin foil and slowly cook the pork over the next three and a half hours. After this time has passed, increase the oven temperature to 180C/160C/gas 4, remove the foil, baste the pork and continue to cook for 45 mins until it is beginning to caramelise around the edges.

  4. Remove the pork from the tin and set aside to rest for 20 mins. Meanwhile, spoon away any fat from the tin and transfer the sauce to a small pan.

  5. Slice the pork – it will fall apart as you cut into it, thanks to the long cooking process – then return to the tin. Warm the sauce in the pan, then pour over the meat and toss everything together.

You can serve this dish however you like, but we recommend that you spoon the pork into steamed Bao Buns, with carrot & mooli, spring onions and a dollop of wasabi mayonnaise. Yummy!

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