Living in Singapore means we get lots of good and cheap hawker food (stalls specialising in selected types food hence ensuring yummy quality through the hawker’s years of experience. although authentic hawker stalls are dwindling and taken over by mostly tasteless food court franchises).
Anyway. Ask any Singaporean and he or she will probably cite a few favorite hawker dishes like wanton mee (dumpling noodles), charsiew rice (barbequed pork) or char kway teow.
I used to think that char siew are naturally red in color. Yes. I thought that in the process of barbecuing, the marinate must contain some of kind of ingredient to turn out the brightly coloured meat. Something kike beetroot? Not that I knew what beetroot was when I was younger (yes suprise suprise? I only knew how a beetroot grew like less than a decade ago).
So. You can imagine when I discovered real char siew.
It’s brown and charred? Hoho yes. And that was the end to any bright red char siew for me.
But its really harder to get good char siew in Singapore. The older stalls are alao located too far away for me northerner. So what so you do? Ask the hubby to make some at home!
A winner of a recipe we have here. Zzz says there are a thousand recipes online. So he made his own version as well. It’s so good my mum has pre ordered for the next Chinese New Year!
Char siew recipe
750 g pork shoulder, cut into 2 strips
750 g pork belly, skin removed, cut into 2 strips
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tomato, peeled, deseeded, finely chopped/grated
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon rose water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons five spice powder
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
2-4 tablespoons honey
Combine all the ingredients, except for the pork and honey, in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Add the strips of meat into the marinade and give them a good massage. Transfer the pork and marinade into a large ziploc bag. Refrigerate for as long as you can (less than 2 days though).
Remove bag from fridge at least an hour before cooking.
Preheat (conventional) oven 180 degree celcius. (If using convection oven, either decrease the temperature or roasting time). Put two racks into the oven, one in the middle and one at the bottom.
Line a baking tray with foil. place the strips of pork into the tray, with an inch of space in between each strip. Pour a tablespoon of marinate over each strip. Put the tray on the middle rack in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
Pour the remaining marinade in the bag into a small saucepan and reserve.
Remove from oven, flip the meat, pour some marinate over each strip. Return to the oven. Roast for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, flip the meat, pour some marinate over each strip. (If marinate runs out, baste with the liquid in the baking tray)
Return to oven and roast for another 10 minutes.
Remove from oven. Turn oven setting to top grill (broiler).
Carefully transfer the meat to another tray. Coat each strips with half-one tablespoon of honey.
Pour the roasting juices into the saucepan with the marinade. Return the empty tray into the oven, this time placing it on the bottom oven rack. Carefully transfer the strips of meat onto the rack at the middle of the oven. This is the final roasting step where the meat will fire up to become char siew. Keep a watchful eye! In about 5 minutes, when a nice char develops at the edges of the strips, remove from oven.
Carefully transfer char siew onto a tray, cover loosely with tented foil and rest for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the saucepan of marinade and roasting juices to boil and simmer till a sauce consistency is reached.
Slice char skew into 3/4 inch thick slices, arrange the pork belly on one side of the plate and pork shoulder on another. Pour some sauce over and serve with additional sauce by the side.