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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Braised Char Siew (or Non-bake Char Siew)

Braised Char Siew (no-bake)

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

Marinated Char Siew Pork

4. Add in the pork and bring to a boil again.

Pork boiling in char siew marinade

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.

Braised Char Siew

7. Remove pork from sauce and slice.

Slicing Braised Char Siew (no-bake)

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.


Cheers, Annie

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K and S said...

Oh my! I may have to try this, we don't have sweet char siu in Japan.

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Hey Annie everytime I come here I have something new... Pork ribs I have only had them out but making them at home mmm the color is so tempting...

TS of eatingclub vancouver said...

Oh cool, a "quick" char siew! So very doable. Bookmarked/clipped it. Thanks! =)

Unknown said...

That looks delicious!

VanPham said...

WOW! this looks so good! I bookmarked and it must be tried out soon. Thanks for sharing.

Piggy said...

wow, looks really yummy, can't tell that the char siew was braised instead of baked.

eatingclubvancouver_js said...

Scrumptious, unctuous, sweetish, salty-ish, fingerlicking goodness!

Single Guy Ben said...

I can't vouch for the taste, but it definitely looks like the real thing. Now all you need are those metal hooks and you can hang them in your kitchen window. ;-)

Elin Chia said...

Nice char siew..will try it out when I crave for it :)) Thanks for sharing this recipe:)

Ciki said...

wow.. normally the need for charsiew kicks in on the weekend.. looks like it has kicked in early this week! haha.. great shots.. saliva worthy;P

Bob said...

Man that looks so good, char siu is such a staple. The photos kill, now I want char siu too.

Jenster said...

I love how your camera caught the glistening texture of the char siu. I can practically taste it.

I hang my head in shame because in my moments of desperation I will sometimes purchase char siu from Costco that was made in Canada.

Michelle said...

This looks fabulous! I've never heard of it, so I think I'll definitely have to try it! Just stopped over to wish you both a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

Yumm.. this looks soooo succulent!! A really good recipe!

smile4me8p said...

Wow! 1)No baking, 2) all the ingredients are common things in the pantry, and 3) not that long of a marinading time...that's all parts of a perfect busy mom's recipe. I'll have to try this one out! Thanks for sharing!

Babe_KL said...

wow this sounds easy peasy, less cleaning too!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@K and S - really, what kind of char siu is available in Japan?

@Ramya - the cut is actually called "country-style pork ribs", which are boneless pork butts cut into long steaks. They have lots of internal fat in them which makes them extra juicy.

@TS - thank you for your support! Do let us know when you try it.

@Melissa - thanks!

@vanpham - you're welcome!

@Piggy - well, it's missing those yummy charred bits. But other than that, it tasted pretty much the same.

@JS - :-)

@Chef Ben - actually, we have some metal hooks. But no way we're hanging them in our window...we'd be fending off the neighbors and the flies all day long ;-)

@Elinluv - thanks, and let us know how it turns out for you!

@Cumi & Ciki - heheh

@Robert - go ahead and make's really easy!

@Jenster - they have char siu in Costco? how interesting. I don't think they do that down here.

@Michelle - thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

@mycookinghut - thanks!

@smile4me8p - we're going to have to do a head-to-head comparison between your long marinade recipe and this no-bake one! Upper Room?

@babe_kl - yeah, less washing is always good!

K and S said...

greyish, roast pork type, not sweet at all.

Anonymous said...

hello there,

thanks for adding my at foodbuzz. i love roast pork more than char siew though. haha. btw what camera are you all using?


choi yen said...

Will the outcome got caramelized result?

Anonymous said...

Love this simpler recipe. This is so good in steamed or baked buns.

mysimplefood said...

Looks like the baked ones. I think my mom made this before. Thanks much for the recipe.

Food For Tots said...

Really looks and feels succulent! My mil also used this method to make her char siew. Looking forward to Maria's recipe! Btw I read that some recipes called for 5-spices powder. Do u think it is essential?

Sarah and Gan said...

omg, this char siew looks good. I might try it! thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love your version of char siew! By the way, I've given you a Commenters' Meme. Do check it out at my blog. Thanks!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@K and S - ah, chashu. Still good, but yeah not like the sweet Chinese style.

@Jude - if we had any left, we'd try to make our baked char siu buns again. Oh well, next time!

@mysimplefood - you're welcome!

@Food 4 Tots - no, I don't think five spice is essential.

@Sarah and Gan - do try it and let us know how it turns out for you!

@Foong - thanks!

Peter M said...

I love this stuff and you've captured it wonderfully in the photos. Now I too can make a home version.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@PeterM - thanks, and I hope you like it!

pigpigscorner said...

Looks amazing esp the charred bits =D

raquel said...

OMG! yummy!!!! pass a bowl of steamed rice, please!

Jeanne said...

OMG, I love, *love* pork char siu! If it's on the menu , I order it but have never thought to make my own from scratch. This looks really manageable though - thanks!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Jeanne - Do try it out and let us know how you like it!

sandrine said...

I made this last night for dinner. My husband couldn't stop eating it before I even plated it. It was so good, the meat was flavorful and soft like the one I got home.

Next time,when I make it I think I will omit the fish sauce, I find it a little strong for me.
Regardless it was still good.

Thanks Annie!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Sandrine - great to hear! thanks for telling us how irresistible they are to your hubby. :-)

Dazy said...

This recipe is really going to keep me busy in the kitchen with all its glamor. This is another must for the weekend! My kids would just hug me for this.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Dazy - how'd the kids (and you) like it?

Bridget said...

This recipe looks amazing! Thank you for sharing.

I've included it in my Top 25 recipe posts on Twitter because its such a winner!!

Thank you again for the beautiful post.

Bridge x