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.
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.
Char Siu - Chinese Barbecue Pork
- 1 pound whole slab pork belly
- 2 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- for serving: steamed rice
- 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.
- 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!