char siew

I love pork anything, and have a particular soft spot for roasted meats like siew yoke (which I've attempted before) and char siew. Two weeks ago, a recipe for char siew appeared in the Sunday Times food section. I tore out the page and placed it within the pages of a recipe book planning to give it a try and jazz up my usual repetoire of dishes.

Sent hubby to wet market to look for the required "pork shoulder butt". He returned with a piece from our usual butcher that looked almost identical to the one in the photo in the paper.

It is much easier and took a shorter time than I imagined to cook - just prepare marinade, marinate meat overnight and 35 mins of roasting. Even with our dinky little oven, and a few ingredient substitutions, I managed to turn out a pretty decent hunk of roast. It was a wee bit off the usual char siew flavour, but superbly moist and the charred bits deliciously chewy and sweet.

Char Siew!

500g pork shoulder butt

1 tsp salt
3Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1Tbsp crushed salted soya beans (tau cheo) I just used what I had at home which happened to be "tau cheong" which has red dates
3 Tbsp light soya suace
1 Tbsp meiguilu jiu or shaoxing wine (I used hua tiao)
1 Tbsp grated giner
125g maltose or honey (I used honey)
2 shallots, finely chopped

2 Tbsp maltose or honey

  1. Cut pieces of shoulder butt in half lengthwise, rinse under running water, pat dry and leave to drain while making marinade.
  2. Microwave marinade ingredients on high for 20s, then whisk to combine. (I don't own a microwave, so I just heated it gently on the stovetop)
  3. Put the pieces of pork in a ziploc bag, pour the marinade over and make sure that it coats the pork. Press out the air and seal the bag. Put on a plate and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 230 deg C at least 30 minutes before cooking. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or aluminium foil and fit a metal rack in the tray. Remove pork from the marinade, pat dry with paper towels and arrange the pieces on the rack.
  5. With oven prehated, put the pork in the oven. Roast 15 minutes, turn the pork over and roast another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven Turn the pork, brush with glaze and return to the oven for 3 minutes. Turn the meat again, glaze and roast 2 minutes more.
  6. Remove from oven, rest pork on a plate for 15 - 20 minutes before slicing. This step is VERY important - don't miss it. It allows the juices of the roast to settle so that the meat is tender and moist.

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