A delicious and simple recipe for a Chinese-restaurant classic which you can make at home.
One thing I miss about living in Australia is being able to visit the local Chinatown, whether it be for a traditional Dim Sum breakfast, a browse through the colourful aisles of the Vietnamese grocer, or a visit to the Chinese bakery for their light and fluffy cakes. Something I deeply miss are the restaurants where you can buy one of the Chinese roast ducks on display, as well as their crispy pork belly, or the ever popular Chinese barbecue pork (also known as char siu pork).
There is no Chinatown in Zurich. In fact, the Asian population here is very scant, but we are lucky to have a few amazing Chinese and Vietnamese grocers, as well as a growing number of south-east Asian restaurants.
That said, I still miss being able to pop into Chinatown to pick up something for a quick dinner. I miss being able to rely on good Chinese takeaway food, and I miss, quite simply, good Chinese takeaway food.
I have always felt that moving to Switzerland made me a better cook. In the absence of being able to buy many food items which I used to enjoy back in Australia, I have had to slowly learn how to recreate most of those dishes at home. Chinese barbecue pork, or char siu pork, is one of those dishes.
And like so many other things which I have re-created at home, making your own Chinese barbecue pork is incredibly easy, and the results are so delicious that this will become a regular dish in your home!
The Chinese barbecue pork that you find in most Chinese restaurants often has a tinge of red in the meat, either from using red fermented tofu in the marinade, or from red food colouring.
Red fermented tofu can be tricky to find, depending on where you live, so my recipe below uses ingredients which are more readily available in most mainstream supermarkets, thus saving you a trip to a specialist Asian grocery store. Although, if you have easy access to the latter, I highly recommend buying your Asian pantry ingredients there as the brands which they stock are more authentic in taste.
I find it easiest to prepare this dish the night before serving, or to make it first thing in the morning, so that the meat has had some time to marinate before roasting. My family love this Chinese barbecue pork served simply with steamed Jasmine rice and some steamed Chinese greens on the side (pak choi or Chinese broccoli work really well here). And I love to use tenderloin in this recipe, simply because it is easy for the children to eat, and also because we love the succulence and tenderness of the cut.
For those who like to add a bit of spice, I always keep a jar of Pickled Chillies in my fridge, and it goes perfectly with this Chinese barbecue pork.
I hope you will enjoy this recipe!
Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu Pork)
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4
For the marinade
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons runny honey
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
- 1 inch (2 cm) knob of ginger, peeled and finely grated
For the Chinese Barbecue Pork
- 2 tablespoons runny honey (extra for the glaze)
- 2 pieces of pork tenderloin, approx 1 lb (500 g) each
- Place all of the ingredients for the marinade into a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Place the pork into a large ziplock freezer bag and pour the marinade inside. Make sure the pork is well-coated in the marinade. Place the bag into the fridge and leave it to marinate for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight.
- When you are ready to roast the pork, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature in the marinade (this will take about 30 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Place a roasting rack on a large baking tray and half fill the tray with boiling water. The rack needs to be high enough so that, when the meat is sitting on top of the rack, the meat should not touch the water. The water helps to create a steam in the oven to cook the pork and to keep it moist.
- Place the pork on the roasting rack and roast for about 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes or so (see next step).
- Meanwhile, pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan and add the extra 2 tablespoons of honey. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer gently for a few minutes until the sauce is thick and syrupy. Use this sauce to baste the pork.
- After 30 minutes, turn the oven to grill (or broil) mode on high heat. If possible, place the tray as high as possible in the oven under the grill. Baste the pork generously every 3-5 minutes, making sure that it is browning nicely and doesn’t burn. Once the pork has caramelised nicely, remove the tray from the oven.
- Let the pork rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
The size and thickness of pork tenderloin can vary greatly, so you may need to adjust your cooking times accordingly. The best way to check if the meat is perfectly cooked is to use a digital meat thermometer. Simply insert the needle into the thickest part of the meat, and the temperature should read between 145-160°F (60-70°C) for well-cooked pork.
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 337g (per serve)
- Sugar: 31.9g
- Sodium: 543.3mg
- Fat: 10.8g
- Carbohydrates: 36.2g
- Fiber: 0.6g
- Protein: 24.9g
- Cholesterol: 74.1mg
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