|This is actually a picture of my second charsiew attempt, which I will blog about later.|
Sorry the photos are pretty bad, because I was really very famished by the time I finished cooking and all I could think of was to polish off the charsiew, hence the blurry iPhone photographs and un-cut meat lol.
For the glaze
1 tbl oil (I used olive oil)
- Combine all the ingredients for the marinade together in a large ziplock bag.
- If your cut of pork is too thick, cut it to about 2-3 inches and put it in the ziplock bag. Seal the bag and begin massaging the pork, ensuring that the marinade coats every part of the pork.
- Leave it to rest for at least half at hour, preferably for 1-2 hours. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 180ºC.
- Place the pork into an oven safe dish and place it in the middle rack of the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes on one side before flipping the pork over to the other side to bake for another 10 minutes. Then, bast the pork using the glaze mixture and turn the heat up to about 210ºC (or up to 250ºC). Bake the pork for a further 5-10 minutes on each side until caramelized. You should be able to see almost-black charred bits on the pork. If so, remove from the oven and wait for it to cool before cutting and serving. Otherwise, turn down the heat to 150ºC and leave it in the oven until you are ready to serve.
|Look at those charred bits! And the translucent liquid is actually the rendered fat from the pork!|
- Note: The recipe is also in cup measurements because I didn’t have the benefit of a weighing machine, and spoons and cups were all I had. You can use 1 tsp of garlic powder as in the original recipe if you have it. I didn’t, hence the minced garlic.
- Tips: Another tip is to make sure you have 2 racks in the oven, one on top and another in the centre. I found that to better aid caramelization, placing the dish of pork on the top rack with the top heating element turned on helped in caramelizing the pork faster and within a shorter time.
- Taste: Cooking is always an inexact science for myself, so do adjust the amount of spices and marinade according to your preferences. I have used quite a bit of sugar and soy sauce in the recipe to suit my preferences, but on subsequent attempts, have used less sugar and soy sauce and the result is still really good.
- Texture: The texture really depends on which cut of meat you get. As you can see, the cut I got above (probably the shoulder) was rather meaty and had quite little fat, so I should have sliced the pork into 2-inch slices as advised instead of leaving them whole because I had to bake them for a longer time to make sure they were tender.
- Serving size: A 500g serving will be more than enough to serve a family of 4 as the main dish. For 2, we demolished this in 2 meals.
- Storage: The char siew stores really well in the fridge, keeping for at least a week. You can also choose to keep it in the freezer, which is what I did when I made a lot of the charsiew. It goes well in fried rice, charsiew paos, and anything else!
- Would I make this again?: Definitely! This is by far the cheaper method to get good quality charsiew, even in Singapore! Just do your math, a cut of pork will set you back a few dollars, and you’ll be able to gorge yourself silly on the resulting charsiew, whereas buying the charsiew from a store will easily cost $5 up for quarter the weight.
- To substitute the Chinese Rose wine (玫瑰露), many on the internet suggest that the best substitute is a dry sherry. If you happen to have sake lying around, do use that, but note that it’s sweeter than shaoxing wine. In a pinch, just use a dry white wine that you might have lying around, or some Chinese rice wine (绍兴酒) will do as well. I tried both of the latter and they didn’t make too much of a difference (in my opinion).
- For the maltose, I simply substituted it with honey.
- For the 5-spice powder (五香粉), you can make your own using Marc’s recipe or you can just do what I did and just use whatever you have in your pantry. Basically, 5-spice powder is made up of (duh) 5 spices, although what these 5 spices are can differ somewhat. The usual suspects include star anise (bajiao), cloves, cinnamon (or Chinese cinnamon, rougui), Sichuan pepper (huajiao) and ground fennel seeds. The spices are not in equal quantities, so it’s really a matter of taste. For my substitute below, I have attempted to use ground cinnamon, allspice (which contains ), some black pepper and some white pepper.
- If you don’t have Hoisin sauce, my recommendation is for you to get it, because it’s pretty inexpensive – a few dollars for about 300+g in any Asian grocery store. I can vouch that it will be available in the smallest of Asian grocers. Otherwise, a good substitution (I have tried this at home) is a combination of 4 parts soy sauce to 2 parts peanut butter to 1 part honey/sugar to 1 part white vinegar. You can also choose to add garlic powder, sesame oil, habenero and other seasonings. There are many recipes on the internet for Hoisin sauce, but honestly, it’s pretty troublesome when it’s so cheap and you’ll have many other uses for it, like Hoisin Chicken Wings :]