Make your own restaurant-quality Chinese pork char siu in your own oven. Serve the glazed roast pork thinly sliced with steamed white rice, or egg noodles.
My parents house in Jakarta is only three doors away from a superb family restaurant selling char siu - Chinese glazed roast pork and siu yuk - Chinese crispy skin roast pork. Whenever I have the chance to visit my parents, I always make sure to drop by and buy loads! But I can only fly home so many times, and thus, must find a reliable recipe to reproduce my favorite food. This is, by far, my favorite recipe for char siu. I will be the first to admit that my neighbor’s version is still better, but for a home made version, this is the best I can manage for now. :D
Char Siu Marinade
The first step in making char siu is preparing the marinade, and these are what I use:
- brown sugar
- honey, or maltose
- hoisin sauce
- soy sauce
- five spice powder
- preserved bean curd
- Shaoxing wine (绍兴酒), or Chinese rose wine (玫瑰露酒 - Mei Kuei Lu Chiew)
- rose water, omit this if you use Chinese rose wine
If you cannot find all the listed ingredients, I suggest to only omit rose water and preserved bean curd, and try to keep everything else intact.
Choosing the right pork cuts for char siu
The pork cuts used by most Chinese restaurants for making char siu is the neck part. But since pork neck might not be as easy to find compared to other cuts, you can use other cuts too. I have tried this with pork shoulder, pork sirloin, and pork tenderloin. All cuts produce very acceptable result, and nobody has yet to point out something is wrong when I use one cut over the other. Regardless of the cut you use, be sure to marinade for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours. Even if you are pressed for time, please marinate for a minimum of 8 hours.
How to roast char siu in an oven
If you can, you want to roast your char siu in a foil lined baking sheet topped with a wire rack. I find that elevating the pork with a rack helps to get a better color overall because the meat doesn’t lay flat directly on the baking sheet. Regardless, the final taste and texture are pretty much comparable whether you use a wire rack or not.
Char Siu - Chinese Glazed Roast Pork
- Char siu marinade
- 4 tablespoon honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 4 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine (*)
- 1/2 tablespoon rose water (*)
- 1 cube (~ 1 tablespoon) preserved bean curd
- Other ingredients
- 1 1/2 kilogram (~ 3 lbs.) pork (neck/shoulder/sirloin/tenderloin)
- 2 tablespoon honey
- Mix all char siu marinade, and transfer to a mixing bowl/large zip lock bag. Add pork pieces to the sauce, and marinade for 24-48 hours, at least 8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 160 Celsius (320 Fahrenheit). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place a wire rack on top.
- Arrange pork over wire rack and roast (bake) for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pour the remaining marinade into a small sauce pot along with the 2 tablespoon of honey. Cook over medium heat until boiling, then cook further until syrup consistency, about 2-3 minutes more. Remove from heat. This is our basting sauce.
- Remove the pork from oven, baste with basting sauce, flip to the other side, and baste again. Roast again for another 30 minutes.
- Remove the pork from oven, baste with sauce, flip, and baste. This time roast for 20 minutes, and you may want to tent with a foil if it starts to char too quickly.
- Finally, remove the pork from the oven, baste the surface, and put it back to the oven for a final 10 minutes roast. It should caramelized nicely and glazed with sticky sauce.
- Take the pork out from the oven, let it rest for 15 minutes, then slice into bite size pieces.
- (*) Or you can use 1 1/2 tablespoon Chinese rose wine, instead of 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine + 1/2 tablespoon rose water. If you don't have rose water, increase the shaoxing wine to 1 1/2 tablespoon.