Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chinese Barbecue Roast Pork (Cha Shao/Char Siu)

I used this recipe from the Honolulu Star Bulletin:

They used pork butt, but I used tenderloin instead. It might not be as succulent or tender as pork butt, but the tenderloin actually turned out pretty well.

- 1 cup sugar
- 2-1/2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 ounce (about 1 cube) wet bean curd (see note)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1/4 teaspoon red food coloring

I left out the wet bean curd and the food coloring, and used Calvados apple brandy, instead of regular brandy, and in more liberal quantities.

  1. Cut pork lengthwise into 1-inch thick slices, about 2 inches wide. (**Trim length so strips will fit when hanging in oven** optional.)
  2. Cover in water and soak 1 hour to draw out blood.
  3. Combine marinade ingredients, soak for at least 24 hours. Massage meat with hands, so that sauce penetrates all crevices of the meat.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake on sheet for 45 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to 300 degrees, bake another 20 minutes. (Place on lower rack, cover with foil).
  6. Enjoy!

So the real Chinese way is to hang the pork strips from metal hooks in a large tower-like oven. Not having that kind of device, I just baked it on a sheet, as it seemed like too much trouble to have to re-arrange the racks in my oven.

I think it turned out pretty well! Of course I didn't use any food coloring, and it's not as sweet as in the restaurants, but it as a nice flavor to it, and it's still pretty moist.


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