Tag Archives: Siu

Japanese Char Siu (Plus Deluxe Shoyu Tamago) Recipe

I have been meaning to share this super easy and super delicious Japanese char siu recipe for the longest time.

You know why the delay? Because I was super lazy to buy some kitchen string and tie my pork belly into pretty looking round bundle.

The extra step doesn’t do anything to improve the taste, the recipe is awesome as is, but it does give you the look of char siu sold in ramen shops.

But… if I keep waiting for that to happen, I don’t know when that will happen, so here goes.

Japanese Char Siu

Pork belly, to tie or not to tie

To get the most traditional ramen shop char siu look, you need to start with a slab of pork belly, and not the ones already cut into smaller strips/chunks like the one I use. But either you use a slab or strips/chunks, just make sure you use pork belly.

If you do get yourself a nice slab or pork belly, you can go ahead and tie it into a round log (think pretty looking pork served in Christmas!). A quick Google with ‘how to roll and tie pork belly’ should give you plenty of instructional videos 🙂

Japanese Char Siu

Japanese Char Siu

Shoyu based broth

The next most important thing to prepare once you have your pork belly is to prepare the broth. This is a soy sauce (shoyu) base broth, and you do need plenty of it.

For 1 kilogram meat, I use 6 cups low sodium soy sauce, 1 cup sake, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 onions, 1 bulb garlic, 4 scallions, 2″ ginger, and 1 cup carrot.

I love this broth so much, and once you are done cooking the char siu, don’t throw the broth away.

Note that I am using low sodium soy sauce and not regular soy sauce. Regular soy sauce will make the dish too salty, so please be aware of this.

If you only have regular soy sauce, use 3 cups of regular soy sauce + 3 cups of water instead of 6 cups of low sodium soy sauce.

Japanese Char Siu

Japanese Char Siu

Deluxe shoyu tamago

This super delicious soy sauce based broth is perfect for making shoyu tamago! So prepare some soft boiled eggs, and once the broth is cool (or at room temperature), gently drop peeled eggs into the broth.

I really like shoyu tamago prepared with this broth compared to the traditional recipe since the broth has so much depth from cooking the char siu. If you look at my picture, it is clear that the broth can be used for even 2 dozens egg!

Deluxe Shoyu Tamago

Deluxe Shoyu Tamago

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Stovetop Braised Char Siu Recipe

Char siu has always been one of my guilty pleasure. I know it can be quite fatty and growing up, my parents would always remind us not to eat too much char siu. For a long while, I was a good daughter and did restrain myself. Now that I know just how easy to prepare a good char siu at home, it has been a challenge. And especially with this stovetop braised char siu recipe, making a good char siu is such an easy thing the only way to stop is to not even buy any pork when doing my groceries. 😀

Stovetop Braised Char Siu

I have to thank my friend Pearlyn for this wonderful recipe. I usually prepare my char siu with preserved bean curd (nam yue), but hers uses fermented chili soy bean paste (dou ban jiang). I know she is a remarkably good cook and followed her recipe exactly and it turned out so good I don’t want to change anything. If you love char siu, you owe it to yourself to at least try the recipe once. But, don’t come to me later to complain you cannot stop cooking this. 😉

Stovetop Braised Char Siu

Stovetop Braised Char Siu

Why is the char siu not red?

If you are wondering why the char siu is not as red as the ones in restaurant, it is because those are usually colored with red food coloring. There is a way if you want to add red color naturally, but you need to get some red yeast rice (angkak). Soak 1 tablespoon (or even up to 1.5 tablespoon) of angkak in hot water for 1 minute, drain, then grind in a food processor and mix with the rest of the marinating ingredients to marinate the pork. If you do it this way, your char siu will be red.

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Char Siu – Chinese Glazed Roast Pork Recipe

Char Siu – Chinese Glazed Roast Pork.

My parents’ house in Jakarta is only three doors away from a superb family restaurant selling char siu – Chinese glazed roast pork and siu yuk – Chinese crispy skin roast pork. Whenever I have the chance to visit my parents, I always make sure to drop by and buy loads!

But I can only fly home so many times, and thus, must find a reliable recipe to reproduce my favorite food. This is, by far, my favorite recipe for char siu. I will be the first to admit that my neighbor’s version is still better, but for a homemade version, this is the best I can manage for now. 😀

Ingredients for char siu marinade: brown sugar, honey, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, five-spice powder, oil, preserved bean curd, Shaoxing wine, and rose water.

Ingredients for char siu marinade: brown sugar, honey, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, five-spice powder, oil, preserved bean curd, Shaoxing wine, and rose water.

Char Siu Marinade

The first step in making char siu is preparing the marinade, and these are what I use:

If you cannot find all the listed ingredients, my suggestion is to omit rose water and preserved bean curd and try to keep everything else intact.

Arrange marinated pork on a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Arrange marinated pork on a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Choosing the right pork cuts for char siu

The pork cut used by most Chinese restaurants for making char siu is the neck part. The neck cut is not easy to find unless you buy it from an Asian/Chinese market, and I often use other pork cuts too.

I have tried this with pork shoulder, pork sirloin, and pork tenderloin. All cuts produce a very acceptable result, and nobody has yet to point out something is wrong when I use one pork cut over the other.

Regardless of the cut you use, be sure to marinate for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours. Even if you don’t have much time, please marinate for a minimum of 8 hours.

Boil the marinade and honey into a thick sauce. Use the sauce to baste the pork during roasting.

Boil the marinade and honey into a thick sauce. Use the sauce to baste the pork during roasting.

How to roast char siu in an oven

1. Roast the pork

Preheat oven to 160 Celsius (320 Fahrenheit). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place a wire rack on top. Arrange pork over a wire rack and roast (bake) for 30 minutes.

TIPS: I find that elevating the pork with a rack helps to get a better color overall because the meat doesn’t lay flat directly on the baking sheet. The final taste and texture are pretty similar whether you use a wire rack or not, so don’t worry too much if you can’t prepare this exact setup.

2. Prepare basting sauce

Meanwhile, prepare the basting sauce. Pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepot along with the two tablespoons of honey. Cook over medium heat until boiling, then cook further until syrup consistency, about 2-3 minutes more. Remove from heat.

3. Baste the pork

Remove the pork from the oven, baste with basting sauce, flip to the other side, and baste again. Roast again for another 30 minutes.

Remove the pork from the oven for the second time, baste with sauce, flip, and baste. This time roast for 20 minutes, and you may want to tent with a foil if it starts to char too quickly.

Finally, remove the pork from the oven, baste the surface, and return it to the oven for a final 10 minutes roast. It should be caramelized nicely and glazed with sticky sauce.

Char siu just out from the oven, with a thick glossy glaze coating the pork.

Char siu just out from the oven, with a thick glossy glaze coating the pork.

Serving suggestion and storing leftovers

Once you take the roast pork out from the oven, let it rest for 15 minutes to settle the juices. Then, cut into thin bite-size slices for serving.

Char siu goes perfectly with rice or as noodle toppings. If you have any leftovers, you can use it as bread filling and make some delicious char siu milk bread or char siu steamed buns.

If you make too much char siu, you can store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze char siu for up to 3 months!

Rest the char siu for 15 minutes, then cut into bite-size slices to serve.

Rest the char siu for 15 minutes, then cut into bite-size slices to serve.

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