What to cook for the Lunar New Year this coming weekend? I made Chinese Barbecue Pork – Char Siu as it’s offered in restaurants. There’s nothing like recreating it at home, so that you can control the flavors, and enjoy more portions around the table.
I was at the Asian grocery last week, so I stocked up on slabs of pork belly. Here in America, we can only find this kind of pork cut in Asian markets, with the fat gleaming and generously portioned, for the kind of recipes we cherish, especially for the Chinese New Year. Filipinos make a big celebration out of the Lunar New Year. In the Philippines, and in Filipino communities here in America, it is always a time for big festivities and family gatherings.
The Lunar New Year is always a reason for us to celebrate with a bounty of divine dishes, to invite prosperity and good luck. For who wants to turn away any prospects of good fortune?
Inspired by a recipe from the Woks of Life, I started by marinating the slabs of pork overnight and storing them in the refrigerator. It looks like a long list of ingredients, but the amounts are small for each one. Mix them all together and you have a potion that’s magical – it transforms the ordinary pork into a glistening, fragrant slab, that looks even more gorgeous after it is roasted in the oven.
For this Chinese Barbecue Pork- Char Siu, you want to achieve a sweet flavor, with a dark, caramelized look on the outside. When you slice it, you’ll discover the pieces are tender, succulent, moist and packed with a combination of tastes that ranges from sweet, to smokey, to savory. Serve this dish with steamed vegetable greens and rice, and if you like, a plethora of Chinese-style dishes to welcome the New Year.
Chinese Barbecue Pork – Char Siu
- Medium and Large Mixing Bowls
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Bake rack to fit in baking sheet
- 2 pounds whole slab pork belly, boneless
- 2 stalks scallions, chopped, for garnish
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon five spice powder
- 1 Tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 2 Tablespoon molasses
- ⅛ teaspoon red food color
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 cup pork or chicken broth
- steamed rice
- Prepare the whole slab of pork belly. Make sure it is at 2-inches thick.Do not slice off the fat, because it will affect the taste outcome.
To marinate pork:
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the marinade ingredients: sugar, salt, pepper, five-spice powder, wine, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, molasses, food color (if using), honey, sesame oil, and broth. Mix well.Reserve 2 tablespoons for marinating while roasting.
- Pierce the pork belly slab in some parts on the sides and top.Pour the marinade all over the pork till it is well-coated.Place marinated pork in a covered container and refrigerate. Let the pork marinate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
To roast the pork:
- Pre-heat oven at 425 F.Prepare the rimmed baking sheet. Line it with foil.Place the bake rack on top of the baking sheet.Place the marinated pork belly slabs on the bake rack.Brush the top of the pork with a few drops of the reserved marinade.
- Place the baking sheet with pork in the oven.Roast at 425 F for 10 minutes. The high temperature is meant to seal in the flavors.
- Lower the oven temperature to 375 F. Roast for 20 minutes.Flip the slabs of pork to roast evenly. Brush the other side of the pork with the reserved marinade.
- After 20 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350 F.Brush the pork with the remaining marinade.Roast the pork for 18 minutes.
- When pork is completely cooked, turn off heat and remove the meat from the oven.Let the pork rest for about 8 to 10 minutes on the chopping board.Slice the pork into 1-inch bite-sized slices.Serve warm with rice. Garnish with chopped scallions all over.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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