Cooking with Cheryl - Char Siew

It has been a terribly long time since I last blogged and well, cooking might just help me start blogging again!

So I've decided to take on the challenge to make char siew on tuesday. For those who do not know what's that. It's pretty much honey-ed grilled pork which tastes heavenly if you go to the correct places to eat it. One of my personal favourite would the the char siew place at Keong Saik Road, Foong Kee. The roasted meats over there is fabulous and I'm drooling as I imagine having a bowl of yummy char siew wanton noodle.

My boyfriend and I adore char siew so much so that I've decided to give it a go at making it. I thought it wouldn't be that difficult. :) Well it isn't but there's a lot of work needed.

Since it's the first time making char siew, I bought both pork belly and pork collar. Pork belly with not too much fats is definitely the best choice. Super yums!

Auntie Chan's Char Siew! 
It's so good that we finished up 650gms of char siew between us both.

Auntie Chan's Char Siew Recipe


What is char siew without
- 1 kg Pork Belly (look for less fatty ones!)

- Marinate
2 teaspoon of salt
4 teaspoon of sesame oil (can never get enough of this)
2 teaspoon of dark sauce (it gives the colour of the char siew. If you like it darker, add more)
2 teaspoon of pepper
4 tablespoon of honey
4 tablespoon of brown sugar (or white sugar but brown sugar sounds healthier :p)
4 tablespoon of oyster sauce or hoisin sauce
3 tablespoon of Rose Flavoured Wine 玫瑰露酒 (/Shao Xing/ Hua Diao) but rose flavoured is the best!
3 teaspoon of 5 spice powder

- 2 soup bowls of water

1. Go to the market and look for pork belly that's not so fatty.
a) Ask the butcher to remove the skin and cut them into about 1.5 inch wide strips
b) Do it at home yourself if you're getting from supermarkets

2. You can choose to tenderise the meat first by
a) Using the tenderiser
b) Poking the strips of meal vigorously with a fork (Good when you need to vent your anger)

3. Marinate the meal overnight in the refrigerator with the above marinate recipe. Cling wrap the bowl or you could also put the meat in ziplock bags to marinate.

Done? Nope! This is just the start of your char siew making process.

The next day when you open your refrigerator, you'll see something like below.

Pork strips that are obviously blackened by your marinate, which is good, at least we know that the marinate is doing its job.

Cooking with a wok

I've come to realise that a chef (ehem! something I would like to call myself) needs their wok and of course a cleaver which I have grown to love. Not forgetting sharp knives. Very very important. My knives at home are so blunt that the kitchen scissors are way better. Nonetheless, I enjoy cooking too much to be bothered by that.

1. Heat up the wok. Start of by pouring a suitable amount of oil (2-3 tablespoon) into the wok and allow the oil to heat up.

2. Once the oil is heated up, sear your strips of meat evenly. In angmoh terms, it means to brown your meat. When you do so, apparently you help seal the juices in them. Do that for about 5 minutes.

3. Pour in the rest of your marinate then add in water and allow that to simmer on low-medium fire for about 45 mins, turning the strips every now and then.

4. When it's about time, and the meat is tender enough, scoop up all of the char siew sauce into a bowl. (This sauce is da bomb! My boyfriend loves it and told me 'Got standard ah!')

5. At this stage, you can choose to either
a) Continue to try charring your char siew with the wok and applying honey mixed with the char siew sauce on your char siews every now and then.
b) Charr the char siew with a grill which was what I did. 

I put it in the oven at about 160 deg celsius to charr my char siew, applying honey mixed with the char siew sauce onto my char siews and flipping it over every now and then. Do so until it's something like below, although personally I would have preferred it more charred. 
(note to self: will probably try to finish off by charring directly with the stove next time)

As tempting as it is to immediately slice your char siew and eat it, do not do that! Once again, DO NOT SLICE YOUR CHAR SIEW IMMEDIATELY. It's a pain not to do that.
Let your poor char siew rest and cool down before working on it.

Tada!!! Your char siew is done!
Present it nicely on a plate with cucumbers and drizzle the oh-so-amazing-char-skew-sauce on top. You can also drizzle your rice with the sauce and just eat it plain. Just kidding.

Enjoy making and eating char siew!!! :D



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