I've been wanting to make Char Siew for a while now. I have a go-to recipe that my friend, Maria shared with me a while ago but that recipe requires me to marinate the meat for at least 2 days or more before baking. But because I was craving some char siew immediately and didn't want to pay over $6/lb for it at the Chinese BBQ shop, I decided to try this recipe that I found at Baking Mum's blog.
So I went off to the Asian grocery store and came home with major poundage of boneless, country style pork ribs. I prepped about 2/3 of it with Maria's recipe and those are now sitting in my freezer waiting for the next time I crave char siew (I will give you that recipe in another post).
Quick and Easy...With a Couple of Tweaks
But the rest I saved for this recipe. It's really quite easy and only requires a 4-hour marinating time before cooking so if you prepare early enough, you could get it cooked the same day you buy your meat. As a matter of fact, I didn't even give it 4 hours. I only had enough time for a 3-hour marinade time before I started to cook it and as you can see from the picture, it is good enough.
A couple of comments on the recipe--the original sugar amount was much too high for me. I ended up cutting the sugar a little and still found it too sweet. I would cut it more next time so in my adapted recipe, I will just put in the lesser amount.
Also, it was not salty/savory enough for me so I added more soy sauce and also a dash of fish sauce (about 1 tbsp). And then, because I can't help myself, I also added some garlic paste from Gourmet Garden (about 2 Tbsp). I would have used fresh garlic but the meat was already braising down when I tasted the sauce and wanted to kick it up a notch really quickly and GG's herb and spice pastes are really convenient for such occasions.
Braised Char Siew
(adapted from Baking Mum's Non-Bake Char Siew recipe)
1000g boneless, country-style pork ribs (belly pork will also work, don't use pork that is too lean)
100g sugar (originally 140g - you might even want to cut the sugar even more)
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup light soy sauce
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp garlic, minced fine or use Gourmet Garden's Garlic paste
600 ml water
a little red coloring (I added a couple of drops of red food coloring, it's really red at first but as the sauce cooks down, it darkens).
2 tbsp oil (optional - I didn't end up using this at all because I thought the pork fat glazed itself fine)
1. Mix the sugar, salt, light and dark soy sauce, fish sauce, water and red food coloring in a bowl.
2. Add in the pork and marinate for about 4 hours.
3. Take pork out and set aside and pour marinate into a wok. Bring to a boil.
Marinated Char Siew Pork
4. Add in the pork and bring to a boil again.
5. Lower heat to medium or medium-low and simmer meat, uncovered, until meat is tender and sauce has thickened. Turn the meat around a few times during the cooking process to ensure even cooking.
6. At the end, the sauce will resemble a thick syrup (in about 45 minutes to 1 hour). At this point, you can choose to add the extra oil for more sheen but I didn't find it necessary.
7. Remove pork from sauce and slice.
You can save the syrup and dilute it with a bit of water, and serve it on the side to add to your rice or meat. Any extra syrup will also be yummy with other dishes later.