Thursday, April 05, 2007


The Gourmet Cookbook, 2004, Edited by Ruth Reichl

Char siu is usually served as one of many dishes in a Chinese main course. The leftovers are much prized, because the glaze is so flavorful that just a small amount of pork can bring another recipe, such as a stir-fry or rice dish, to life. If you make char siu at home, you can avoid the red food coloring common to the Chinatown version (red is a most auspicious color in China especially if paired with pork, the meat of choice there). Rest assured that happiness and good fortune will be yours if you have a stash of homemade char siu in the freezer.
serving size

Makes 4 servings.

ingredients1 (1-pound) piece boneless pork butt or shoulder
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinese rice wine or sake
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt


Cut pork along the grain into long strips 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Remove and discard any sinew but do not trim fat. Transfer pork to a large sealable plastic bag. Stir together remaining ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Add to pork and turn pork to coat, then squeeze bag to eliminate as much air as possible and seal. Marinate pork, refrigerated, for at least 4 hours.

Put a rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Fill a 13-by-9-inch roasting pan with 1/2-inch water and place a wire rack across top of pan.

Remove pork from marinade, reserving marinade, and position pork strips 1 inch apart on wire rack. Roast for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring marinade to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan (marinade may look curdled). Remove from heat.

Brush some marinade over pork and roast for 10 minutes more. Generously baste meat with marinade, turn each piece over, and baste again. Roast pork for 20 minutes more, basting 2 or 3 more times with remaining marinade.

Increase oven temperature to 400°F and roast pork until mahogany-colored and caramelized on edges, 10 to 15 minutes more (about 1 hour total roasting time). Transfer to a cutting board and let stand, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes. (Its internal temperature will rise 10 to 15 degrees as it stands.) To serve, cut pork across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Cook's notes:• If you can't find pork butt or shoulder, you can use pork tenderloin.• The pork can marinate for up to 24 hours.• The intensity of the flavor fades when the pork is sliced, so cut it as needed. Keep the remaining unsliced pork wrapped in foil and refrigerated for up to 3 days.• Any leftover pork can be frozen, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in a sealable plastic bag, for up to 1 month.

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