Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Recipe: Char Siew

Amongst all the different type of roast meat in Chinese restaurants and chicken rice stall, honey barbecue pork or char siew is one of my favourites. The juicy tender pork slices glazed with a sticky layer of honey on the outside is simply a heavenly indulgence.

For the price char siew is sold in restaurants or hawker stalls, I had always thought char siew is difficult to make. My opinion had always been the prices must reflect the complexity of the food. After looking up recipes online from here and here, I made an attempt to make my own char siew which turns out to be an easy culinary challenge.

Char Siew 1
Homemade char siew

Here’s the modified recipe that I use:

Honey BBQ Pork/Char Siew (serves 7-8 pax)


1 kg           pork neck
1 tbsp        sesame oil
2 cups       water

2 tbsp       sesame oil
2 tbsp       honey
2 tbsp       sugar
1 tbsp       soya sauce
1 tbsp       oyster sauce
2 tbsp       kicap manis
2 tbsp       hoisin sauce
1 tbsp       shaoxing wine
1/2 tsp     five spice powder


1. Clean and cut the pork neck into strips of 3-4 cm (about 4-5 strips for 1kg of pork neck).

2. Drench the pork neck with the marinade overnight.

3. Heat up a skillet with 1 tbsp of sesame oil and put in the pork and all the marinade. Add 2 cups of water and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.
TIP: Make sure the char siew is not overcooked. I usually check if my char siew is cooked by cutting a slice off to see if the inside is cooked.

4. Heat up the grill. Remove the char siew from the skillet and shake of the sauce. Brush honey over the char siew and grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
TIP: I prefer my char siew to be loaded with coats of honey. So, I would brush honey over the char siew at least twice. Starting with a layer of honey and then popping it into the grill (doing it for both sides), then brushing another layer of honey with a layer of the char siew sauce and putting it back into the grill for 1-2 minutes for both sides.

Char Siew
Strips of char siew out from the oven onto the chopping board

5. If the sauce in the skillet is too watery for your liking, reduce the sauce over low heat until a thicker consistency is formed.
TIP: Watch the fire and stir occasionally. I had previously burnt the sauce because i wasn’t paying attention to it.

6. Cut into thin slices and enjoy.



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