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Char Siu {Braised Chinese BBQ Pork, Easy Yummy}

by Shirley

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Braised Char Siu {Cha Shao, Chinese BBQ Pork}

Char Siu or Cha Shao {叉烧}, a well-liked Cantonese style Chinese BBQ pork, is one of the top takeout items for Chinese restaurants in the west. Braised Chinese BBQ Pork features pork shoulder or butt, cut into long strips and marinated over night with homemade Char Siu sauce. They are so juicy and yummy with an easy 35 minutes of cooking.

The enticing red color is coming from Chinese iconic red yeast rice, an all-natural wholesome ingredient. What a healthier and quick, easy way to enjoy this popular Chinese food!

Braised Char Siu {Cha Shao, Chinese BBQ Pork}
Braised Chinese BBQ Pork

How to make a tasty and healthy Char Siu Sauce?

Homemade Chinese BBQ Pork sauce using simple wholesome ingredients is so delicious and healthy.

Homemade Char Siu {Chinese BBQ Pork} Sauce
Homemade Char Siu {Chinese BBQ Pork} Sauce

Simple traditional Chinese condiments, including Shaoxing Wine, naturally aged soy sauce, and light soy sauce, marinate the pork wonderfully.

The bright red coloring is directly from classic Chinese Red Yeast Rice, or Hong Qu Mi (红曲米) in Chinese. It is an all-natural source of red color. Read here to learn more about this traditional ingredient which also proves to be a superfood in modern time.

Red Yeast Rice and Red Yeast Rice Powder
Red Yeast Rice and Red Yeast Rice Powder

Iconic fermented rose tofu curd further enhances the red color and flavor. I use a pinch of rose tofu curd to cook classic Shanghai style dishes such as Braised Whole Squid {Bi Mu Da Kao 比目大考} or Braised Ham Hock {Hong Men Zhou Zi 红焖肘子}.

Rose Fermented Bean Curd for Shanghai style Braised Whole Squid
Fermented Rose Tofu Curd

Regarding spices, you do not not tons of them, and truly a little goes a long way. Pinch of star anise, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and bay leaves is all you need. I like to grind the first three spices into powder and only keep bay leaves as is.

This helps the pork absorb the flavor better and I do not have to worry about removing them after the cooking. After all, I can remove bay leaves fairly easily from the Braised Char Siu once we are done cooking.

Honey and turbinado sugar gives the BBQ Pork the desired sweetness in a very enticing way. Honey also gives the Chari Siu a glow. The natural molasses in turbinado sugar makes the meat taste especially yummy.

How to make Char Siu {Chinese BBQ Pork} Easy and Yummy?

First thing first is to mix a homemade Char Siu Sauce

Mixing Homemade Char Siu Sauce {Chinese BBQ Pork}

Gather everything in the recipe for “For Homemade Char Siu Sauce” into a bowl, and mix well. Break down the fermented rose tofu curd before adding to the bowl if needed.

Tip No.2 is to marinate the pork overnight with homemade Char Siu Sauce

Add the pork strips along with the homemade sauce into a gallon size ziplock bag. Mix well and carefully squeeze out the air and seal. Place the bag in a container and store in the refrigerator overnight.

Pork Marinated with Homemade Char Siu Sauce in ziplock bag

Tip No.3 is to Pan Fry the marinated pork strips for about 5 minutes

Pan Fry the marinated pork strips with a bit of canola oil, along with sliced ginger and chopped green onion for about 5 minutes to sear the pork. Turn the pork in between to ensure all sides are seared properly.

Pan Fry {Sear} the marinated pork strips for making Braised Char Siu

Tip No.4 is to braise the seared pork with the marinating sauce

Braise the pork with the marinating sauce only, no additional water is required. Use medium heat for 10 minutes and then simmer for 20 minutes. Baste, flip and turn the pork every 10 minutes.

Braising Char Siu in the Wok

Last but not least is to let the Char Siu cool down before cutting into thin serving slices

Remove Char Siu from the wok after the cooking is done. Place them on a plate to cool to room temperature before cutting into thin slices. It makes the cutting even easier if you chill Char Siu in the refrigerator and slice the following day.

Braised Char Siu {Chinese BBQ Pork}
Braised Char Siu {Cha Shao, Chinese BBQ Pork}

Char Siu {Braised Chinese BBQ Pork, Easy Yummy}

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 45 minutes

Braised Chinese BBQ Pork features pork shoulder or butt, cut into long strips and marinated over night with homemade Char Siu sauce. They are so juicy and yummy with an easy 35 minutes of cooking.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 lb pork butt or shoulder, cut into long strips
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 green onion stalk, chopped
  • 15 g ginger, thin sliced

For Homemade Char Siu Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup naturally aged soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
  • 1/4 cup honey, organic raw preferred
  • 1 pc fermented rose tofu curd
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seeds, freshly ground
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds, freshly ground
  • 1/4 tsp star anise powder
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp red yeast rice, freshly ground
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar, also known as "sugar in the raw"

Instructions

Marinate the Pork Overnight:

  1. Gather ingredients. Wash and rinse pork well and air dry. Cut pork into long strips, about 2 inches wide.
    Braised Char Siu {Chinese BBQ Pork} Ingredients
  2. Gather everything under "For Homemade Char Siu Sauce" and place into a small bowl and mix well together. Break down the fermented rose tofu curd before adding to the bowl if needed.
    Homemade Char Siu {Chinese BBQ Pork} Sauce
    Mixing Homemade Char Siu Sauce {Chinese BBQ Pork}
  3. Place pork into a gallon size freezer ziplock bag and then carefully pour in Homemad Char Siu Sauce. Carefully rotate the pork to ensure all pork strips are marinated with the sauce. Squeeze out the air and seal. Place the bag in a container and stor in the refrigerator overnight.
    Pork Marinated with Homemade Char Siu Sauce in ziplock bag

Braise the Marinated Pork:

  1. Remove the marianted pork from the ziplock bag, place on a plate and set aside. Save the marinating juice for braising.
    Marinated Pork Strips for cooking Braised Char Siu {Chinese BBQ Pork}
  2. Turn the heat to medium and heat a wok for 1 minute, and then add 1 tsp canola oil. Use a silicone spatula to spread out the oil. Add chopped green onions and thin ginger slices, stir for about 10 seconds or till fragrant.
  3. Add the marinated pork strips into the wok, try to lay them flat with minimal overlay. Cook for 3 minutes, and then flip and cook for another 2 minutes.
    Pan Fry {Sear} the marinated pork strips for making Braised Char Siu
  4. Pour the marinating sauce into the wok in a circula motion, use a mini silicone spatula to scrape clean if needed. Rotate the pork to mix well. Cover the lid and cook for 10 minutes.
    Braising Char Siu {Chinese BBQ Pork} in Wok
  5. Uncover the lid, turn the heat to simmer. Rotate, flip and baste the pork, and cover the lid and cook for 20 minutes. Rotate, flip and baste the pork after 10 minutes.
    Braising Char Siu in the Wok
  6. All done! Turn off the heat, remove Char Siu from the wok and let them cool down on a plate. Save the juice from the wok as dipping sauce or concentrated broth for making other dishes.
    Braised Char Siu {Chinese BBQ Pork}
  7. Once Char Siu is cooled to room temperature, cut into thin slices and serve. Enjoy a super delicious and healthier Char Siu Chinese BBQ Pork.
    Braised Char Siu {Cha Shao, Chinese BBQ Pork}

Notes

  • Char Siu can be served cold, making it perfect for lunch boxes where microwave is not available to warm up food. Add this as a topping for salad.
  • It makes the slicing easier if you chill Char Siu in the refrigerator and cut them into slices the following day.
  • Enjoy half of the Char Siu now and store the rest in the freezer to consume in the next 4 weeks. They are very freezer friendly. A perfect make in advance meal pan solution.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 977Total Fat: 65gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 293mgSodium: 721mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 81g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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