The irony of this dish is that char siew literally means ‘fork roast’ in chinese, which is an allusion to how it was traditionally made – long strips of pork skewered on long pronged forks and then roasted over a charcoal fire; for this rendition of char siew however, I have opted to go with a non-bake method, which is essentially cooking it down on a stovetop, in a normal pot.

This of course is a perfect opportunity for me to use my Le Creuset crock pot, which I finally decided to buy after years of looking and yearning for it. I bought it at the Isetan sale for slightly under S$200, and I love it! Because it is cast iron, it retains heat really well and I’ve been using it to cook things like the char siew below, as well as making jams, stews and everything else you can do with a stainless steel pot 😀  I foresee that this, together with my trusty Bombino, will be very good friends for many decades to come. Back to the char siew, this method is really very simple, akin to making a stew, AND if you don’t particularly like those charred black bits on the baked char siew, this is perfect for you.

Non-Bake Char Siew

Method adapted from Baking Mum
*I have used metric measurements for this recipe. Refer to my previous attempt for the same recipe in cups.


500g pork, cut into 2-inch thick strips

For the marinade
40g Hoisin sauce
30g brown sugar
20g white sugar 
15g mui kai lo (玫瑰露)
10g soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil 
½ tsp salt 
¼ tsp ground white pepper 
½ tsp 5-spice powder
3 cloves of finely minced garlic
200g water
For the glaze
10g olive oil 
10g honey 

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a mixing bowl. 
  2. Add in the pork and marinate for at least 3-6 hours. 
  3. In a large pot, pour in 200g of water as well as the excess marinade from the pork and bring the mixture up to a boil. Once boiling, add in the marinated pork and allow the mixture to reach a boil again. 
  4. Reduce the heat to a medium-low and allow the meat to simmer until it is tender. Simmer with the lid off. This will take about 30 minutes or so. Once the meat is tender, you can increase the heat to boil off the excess water to allow the sauce to thicken. Then, add in the mixture of oil and honey so that the char siew will be glossy. 

Janine’s jots: 
  • Note: If you don’t have access to 5-spice powder or mui kai lo, please refer to my substitutions in the previous recipe. Also, do try to marinade the meat for slightly longer if possible, so that the meat is more flavorful. I tried marinating for an hour before cooking and the meat was not as tasty. 
  • Taste: Super duper yummy. I haven’t tried comparing the char siew together, but from what I remember, the substitutions produce a char siew which is very close in taste to this method which uses the ‘original ingredients’. 
  • Texture: I felt that the texture was not as tender as the baked method, but then again it could be because of the amount of fat in the meat because the fat marbling in my cut of pork this time was substantially lesser than before. 
  • Serving size: More than enough to serve a family of 5 for dinner, with extras for char siew baos :]
  • Modifications: None! I might try reducing the sugar a little just to try to make it healthier, but it’s really good as it is!
  • Storage: Stores well in the fridge for a few days, but best to freeze it and thaw when you wish to use it again. I have frozen the char siew for a month and used it for a bao filling, and it still tastes as good as new!
  • Would I make this again?: Definitely! This is my 3rd time making char siew using this method – it really is so easy! 
  • And just an extra tip, if you want to use the char siew as filling for your pie, pastry or steamed buns, don’t boil down the water too much, leave some sauce behind so that you can combine it together with more seasoning (because you need the mixture to be tastier if it is a filling) and cornstarch to thicken the mixture. Saves you an extra step of adding liquid for the filling!

In pictures: 

I know it doesn’t look particularly appetizing, but this is how char siew looks like after you cook it.  I have reduced the water to almost nothing, so I’m left with thick delicious sauce. 
Upclose, after having added the oil+honey glaze. Some of the fatty bits are almost charred, just like the baking method. 

Unlike my mom, my hands are still unable to handle meat right out of the pot (my hands don’t have enough tough skin yet), plus I had to take pictures ;p

GAWDDDDDD. I’m drooling as I type this. 

All cut up and ready to serve :]



  1. Zoe says:

    This is beautiful! Just like the professional made roast. Wow!

  2. sotong says:

    oh god your char siew looks so delicious! drool drool drool

  3. Zoe says:

    Thanks Janine for stopping by my berries yogurt ice cream post. To clarify, I would prefer to use ice cream maker to make my ice cream. I’ve tried this exact recipe before and found that ice cream is too icy. You may wish to process the ice cream using a processor if you don’t have an ice cream maker. Cheers.

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