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How to cook Char Siu, Chinese Barbecue Pork Restaurant-style

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Have you ever enjoyed those shiny, sweet tasty slices of Chinese Barbecued Pork from restaurants ? Did you ever dream of cooking this dish with its crisp crunchy roast pieces that transformed into sugary succulence once you bit into it? Well, I did and I’m going to share it with you. This Chinese Barbecued Pork (also called ‘char-siu’ ) was perfect for our Chinese New Year dinner last weekend. It was so good, I repeated the dish again soon after. The feasting continued at our home, because after all, the Lunar New Year celebration lasts 15 days according to my Asian cookbook author friends.

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What a delight it was when Diana Kuan,  author of the new  “The Chinese Take Out Cookbook” invited me to join her Chinese Virtual Potluck to celebrate The Year of the Snake 2013. I never pass up the chance to serve dishes to celebrate good fortune.

Diana’s recipe was simple, yet so superb. Coincidentally, I had just bought a slab of pork belly from the Asian grocery, the perfect cut for this type of hearty meal. Filipinos call this pork cut “liempo” (say ‘lee-yem-poh’), also a favorite for making ‘lechon sa hurno’, oven roasted crisp pork belly.  The recipe from Diana called for basic ingredients I had in my Asian pantry. Plus I knew that the sweet, salty flavors of the Chinese Roast Pork would go well with the rest of my Lunar New Year table fare – steamed dumplings, Filipino ‘pancit’ noodles and steamed fish.

No stress, so easy – Diana had done the recipe for me. All I needed to do was follow it. It was time to get cooking. I mixed the marinade, poured it on the pork slab and refrigerated it for flavors to set. Then at the right time, I roasted the whole chunk in the oven, following directions. By the time the oven timer buzzed, we could smell the lilting aromas of the soy sauce, rice wine, hoisin sauce all combined.

Diana told us why she organized this fun virtual potluck: “The aim of the potluck is to celebrate Chinese New Year by learning from other bloggers how to adapt Chinese cooking and dishes to suit their lifestyle, whether you’re vegetarian, an omnivore, gluten-free, or inhabitant of a small urban apartment.

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Char Siu - Chinese Barbecue Pork

You can do this, too! Here is the original recipe of Chinese Barbecued Pork from Diana Kuan’s new “The Chinese Take Out Cookbook.” If you have enjoyed those slices of rich, honey-sweetened and salty pork belly from Chinese restaurants but always wondered how to do it, then you’re in for a treat. Now you can make it right in your own home. Diana gave me such an easy recipe to do, I did not have to over think it. Whether it’s the Lunar New Year or any day, this is a great meal the family can enjoy. Serve it with fragrant jasmine rice, steamed dumplings, a 'pancit' noodle dish or other Chinese New Year entrees. This recipe made 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole slice pork belly
  • 2 Tablespoons from Asian markets Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 Tablespoons or substitute regular soy sauce (from Asian markets) dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tablespoon from Asian markets hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • for serving boiled jasmine white rice

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix together the rice wine, dark soy sauce, sugar, garlic, hoisin sauce, and five-spice powder. Rub the pork belly with the marinade mixture and marinate for 2 to 3 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Rub the excess marinade off the pork belly (but don’t rub it all off!) and place in a roasting pan. Brush the top with the honey. Roast the pork for 40 to 45 minutes, flipping the pork belly over half-way through and brushing honey on the other side. The pork is done when the outsides begin to crisp and blacken, and the center of the pork belly strip feels firm.
  • Remove the pork from oven and let it cool for a 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into thin slices. Arrange the slices on a plate and serve, either plain as part of a multi-course meal, or with rice or noodles.
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  • COOK’S COMMENTS: My oven’s temperature tends to rise sharply, so I adjusted this recipe for Chinese Barbecued Pork (Char Siu) a tad bit to avoid burning the pork. Instead of mixing the honey and sugar to the marinade mixture, I added the sweet ingredients to the pork belly towards the end of the roasting process. I added the 2 Tablespoons white granulated sugar and 2 Tablespoons honey to the excess marinade, mixed and poured it on the pork belly at the last 15 minutes of cooking. The results were marvelous!

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7 Comments

  1. LOOK AT THAT PORK BELLY! I adore Filipino cooking, especially meat, pork belly especially. I think besides Japanese and Chinese food, Filipinos love pork belly and I feel so happy whenever I see pork belly recipe on Filipino food blogs. You guys know how to cook, and very delicious recipes too!!

    1. Hi Nami. Thanks for your kind comments – it’s always a treat to open my site and see you’ve come to visit. Yes, isn’t this pork belly slab just so inviting? Diana Kuan gave me such an amazing, easy recipe. I’ve made it 3x since I last posted this. Hope you get to try it, too – there’s still time to celebrate Chinese New Year and win GIVEAWAYS from her site http://www.AppetiteForChina.com .

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