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Caramelized Pork Chops

A cross between Chinese char siew and siew yoke, this easy caramelized pork chops is one of the best ways to prepare pork chops. You will go for seconds.
Ingredients for caramelized pork chops: thinly sliced pork chops, light soy sauce, sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), five-spice powder, cornstarch, sugar, salt, and pepper.

Ingredients for caramelized pork chops: thinly sliced pork chops, light soy sauce, sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), five-spice powder, cornstarch, sugar, salt, and pepper.

These are the easiest and tastiest pork chops I have ever made. Well, maybe not the best like the best in the world, but definitely a keeper since they are so easy and so fast to prepare.

It may sound impossible, but the taste is almost like a cross between char siew (Chinese glazed roast pork) and siew yoke (Chinese crispy skin roast pork), it’s almost unbelievable.

Give it a try if you are a fan of either one of the two Chinese delicacies. Actually, give it a try even if you have never tried char siew or siew yoke, you won’t regret it.

Thinly sliced pork chops, marinated in light soy sauce, kecap manis, and dry rub (five-spice powder, cornstarch, sugar, salt, and pepper).

Thinly sliced pork chops, marinated in light soy sauce, kecap manis, and dry rub (five-spice powder, cornstarch, sugar, salt, and pepper).

Ingredients for caramelized pork chops

We will need thinly sliced pork chops, light soy sauce, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), five-spice powder, cornstarch, sugar, salt, and pepper.

Thinly sliced pork chops

Most grocery stores sell pork chop in thick slabs, though if you are lucky, your store may sell the thinly sliced version. If you start with thick slabs (about 1 inch thick on average), simply cut each slab into 3 thin slices. You may want to partially freeze the pork first to get an even cut.

Light soy sauce

There are two common versions of Chinese soy sauce, light soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. Light soy sauce is the one used most of the time, and if a recipe simply says soy sauce, this is usually what we mean.

My favorite light soy sauce for preparing Chinese dishes are Pearl River Bridge and Kimlan. You can also use the more popular Kikkoman, but please use the reduced-sodium soy sauce if possible.

Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)

Kecap manis is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce. We use it to create dipping sauces and chili sauces, and many Indonesian dishes will call for this as one of the ingredients. My favorite brands are Kecap Manis Bango and Kecap Manis ABC, both of these should be easy to find nowadays. :)

For a quick substitute, you can use a 50:50 ratio of soy sauce and coconut palm sugar. For example, substitute 1 tablespoon of kecap manis with 12 tablespoon of soy sauce and 12 tablespoon of coconut palm sugar. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best substitute I have found.

Marinated pork chops, grilled to perfection on a stovetop grill pan.

Marinated pork chops, grilled to perfection on a stovetop grill pan.

Preparing and cooking the pork chops

First, make sure your pork chop is cut into thin slices. Next, tenderize each slice with the back of a knife/cleaver, or pound with a meat tenderizer into 14” thick.

Place pork chop slices in a mixing bowl, mix with light soy sauce and kecap manis, and all the dry rub ingredients (five-spice powder, cornstarch, sugar, salt, and pepper). Let the pork marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat a cast-iron grill pan on medium-high heat for 5 minutes. You can check if the pan is ready by flicking a few drops of water on to the grill pan. If the water evaporates quickly, it’s ready. Also, you don’t want the pan to be too hot, meaning you shouldn’t see smoke rising from the pan.

Dip a brush/paper towel in oil and rub the surface of the preheated grill pan to prevent food from sticking to the pan, then start placing the marinated pork onto the hot surface.

Since we have ensured to use thinly sliced pork chops, we should only need slightly under 2 minutes per side to fully cook the pork.

These tender and juicy caramelized pork chops are a cross between Chinese char siew and roast pork.

These tender and juicy caramelized pork chops are a cross between Chinese char siew and roast pork.

Resting and serving the pork chops

Rest the grilled pork chops for 10 minutes on a cutting board loosely covered with a piece of aluminum foil. A resting period is important so the grilled pork chops can reabsorb and redistribute the juices, giving you a nice, juicy, and flavorful meat in every bite. So don’t skip this super easy but important step.

Once the resting period is up, use a sharp knife to cut the pork chop into thin strips.

You can serve the caramelized pork chop strips immediately with steamed white rice, as noodle topping, or even as a sandwich filling.

Let the pork chops rest for 10 minutes, then cut into thin strips and serve.

Let the pork chops rest for 10 minutes, then cut into thin strips and serve.

Caramelized Pork Chops

5.0 from 14 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 20 mins

Serves: 4

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 slabs of pork loin (about 700-800 gram), about 1" thick each
  • 2 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis)
  • Dry rub (mix together the following ingredients)
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut each slab of pork loin into three equal slices. Tenderize each slice with the back of a knife/cleaver. You should end up with 9 slices of pork loin.
  2. In a mixing bowl, marinate the pork slices with light soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, and gently massage the dry rub into the meat. Let the pork marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a cast-iron grill pan on medium-high heat for 5 minutes. You can check if the pan is ready by flicking a few drops of water on to the grill pan. If the water evaporates quickly, it’s ready. Also, you don’t want the pan to be too hot, meaning you shouldn’t see smoke rising from the pan.
  4. Dip a brush/paper towel in oil and rub the surface of the preheated grill pan to prevent food from sticking to the pan, then start placing the marinated pork onto the hot surface.
  5. Grill both sides until slightly charred and caramelized, up to 2 minutes per side should be enough.
  6. Let the cooked pork chops rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board covered loosely with a piece of aluminum foil, then cut into thin strips and serve with steamed white rice.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • Patty at Spoonabilities Patty at Spoonabilities says:

    These pork chops look amazing! I have never tried char siew or siew yoke but definitely am going to try your recipe!

  • Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry says:

    Oh these pork chops look mouthwateringly delicious! Pork is one of my favourite meats and this sounds amazing!

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    The caramelization on the pork chops was incredible! It made a delicious dinner and everyone had seconds. Another great recipe Anita!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thank you for reviewing, Jamie. I'm happy you and the family love it. :)

  • Erika Erika says:

    The caramelization on these pork chops looks amazing! Definitely adding this to my list of recipes to make.

  • Chris Collins Chris Collins says:

    Okay Caramelized Pork Chops is 100% going on my 'to-make' list after reading this! Thanks so much!!

  • Ashley Ashley says:

    Oh my goodness!!! This looks like the sticky-sweet-tender pork chop I'm craving!

  • Kacey Perez Kacey Perez says:

    I typically always have pork chops in the freezer, but struggle to come up with new ways to prepare them! Loving this recipe - it is one I will be hanging on to!

  • stephanie stephanie says:

    The caramelization on these pork chops looks amazing!! I can't wait to try them.

  • Alison @foodbymars Alison @foodbymars says:

    This is mouthwatering! I can't have soy, so I could easily swap it with coconut aminos and it would be incredible. Thanks for sharing this - can't wait to try the technique.

  • Irina Irina says:

    This is tasty; this is delicious! Made these pork chops for lunch today. Well, it is an OMG recipe - a keeper for sure! I am sharing your recipe with my family and friends. It is a must to try!

  • Krissy Allori Krissy Allori says:

    The caramelizing on those pork chops look like perfection. The sweet and salt in this makes my mouth water. Adding this to my list for next week. Thank you!

  • Biana Biana says:

    These Caramelized pork chops look amazing, the glaze is so mouthwatering!!

  • Chichi Chichi says:

    This is absolutely gorgeous. This is a recipe I like to make over and over. My family simply can’t get enough. Thank you for an amazing recipe.

  • Janelle Janelle says:

    This marinade look amazing - might try it on some jack fruit.

  • Pink Pink says:

    Hello Anita, I am an avid fan of your blogs, and thank you for sharing the recipe! To char and caramelize the pork chops, is it possible to use a broiler rather than a grill? Thank you!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Pink, you can also cook the pork chops on a regular frying pan and it should take the same amount of time as with a grilling pan. There won't be any grilling marks, but you can still cook the pork until the surface caramelizes.

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