Monday, 30 January 2012

Char Siu - Cantonese Roast Pork

Char Siu - Cantonese Roast Pork
Makes several diagonal cuts from opposite directions about
3/4 down the width
Marinated overnight and ready for the oven
Out of the oven and lightly brushed with maple syrup
Char Siu - Cantonese Roast Pork

Char Siu is a delicious Cantonese dish that is normally bought from a restaurant or  Shāo là (Roast meat) stalls and very rarely prepared at home. In Singapore, it is commonly served with rice and drizzled with a dark sweet gravy. The strips of pork is first marinated in a mixture of Hoisin sauce, yellow bean paste, shaoxing rice wine etc and then skewered and either barbecue over a fire or roast in an oven. When roasted, this aromatic and juicy pork has a reddish brown appearance with a slightly charred edges, especially around the fat. I have use gochujang in this recipe which is not traditional but it does gives it a signature reddish tint and the slight spicy kick goes very well with the honeyed sweet pork.

(Serves 4)


1 kg pork loin
3 tbsp maple syrup or runny honey

For the Marinade:
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp yellow bean paste
4 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp shoaxing rice wine
1 tbsp gochujang (Korean chilli paste), optional
a pinch of sea salt


Make 3-4 diagonal cuts from opposite direction of the pork, cutting three-quarters through the width without cutting it into pieces. This allows for better absorption of the marinade and also give the pork a traditional char siu look.

Prepare the marinade. In a large bowl, combined all the ingredient. Put in the pork and leave to marinate overnight or at least 5-6 hours. 

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the strip of pork from the marinade, reserve this for basting later. Place the pork on a wire rack over a roasting tray that is filled with about 1cm deep of water. This helps to prevent the juices  that drip from the pork burning, and the steam from the water helps to keep the pork moist. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, remove fro oven and dip into the reserve marinade and return to the rack, this time the bottom side up. Roast for another 20-25 minutes, until the pork is reddish brown and cooked through. 

Removed and immediately brush all over thoroughy with maple syrup or honey. Carve into slices and serve immediately.

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