I had a tough crowd for this one. My boyfriend Scott grew up in Hong Kong and char siu was one of his favourites. When I picked up a little pork belly at a local market, without any specific recipes in mind, I looked online for inspiration and knew almost immediately that I should make something Asian with it. Char siu it was!
I was initially a little sceptical about the recipe I chose because when I’ve made pork belly before it’s involved a few different stages of cooking – long and low, hot to crisp up the skin etc – and was quite a lengthy cook. This recipe only required 35-40 minutes of cooking and I removed the pork skin/fat as instructed – so no crackling. Sounded easy, and I’m not a massive crackling fan so I gave it a shot. I’m really glad I did! This recipe gives you really well flavoured meat, a syrupy addictive sauce, tender meat – in under an hour (excluding the marinating overnight). One of the easiest recipes for pork I’ve ever cooked!
And the flavour was apparently pretty authentic tasting according to Scott. He said it was more intensely flavoursome than most he had eaten, which was a good thing. If you prefer a slightly milder taste I’d reduce the amount of five spice. But if I made it again I wouldn’t change a thing!
You will need:
For the marinade
2 tbspn rice wine vinegar
2 tbspn dark soy sauce
1 tbspn sugar
2 tbspn honey
1 tbspn hoisin sauce
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tspn five spice
1/2 tspn white pepper
500g pork belly, skin removed (so around 400g meat)
2 spring onions, sliced
1/3 red chilli, sliced
1 tbspn honey
1 – Mix together all of the ingredients for the marinade; plunge the de-skinned meat into this mix and leave to marinate in a deep dish overnight in the fridge
2 – Preheat your oven to 160 degrees and remove the pork from the fridge
3 – When ready to cook, remove the pork from the marinade and place in an oven dish; brush a little marinade onto the meat with half the remaining honey
4 – Roast the pork for 15-20 minutes before turning it over and brushing with a little more marinade and the remaining honey; cook for another 15-20 minutes
5 – Meanwhile, place the remaining marinade juices in a small saucepan and bring to the boil; reduce to a simmer and allow the liquid to thicken for around 10 minutes
6 – Briefly fry the chilli and spring onions in a wok with a splash of groundnut oil just to take the raw edge off; set aside
7 – Remove the pork from the oven once it’s nice a caramelised on the outside; carve and serve on top of steamed rice with the spring onions and chillis on top plus the reduced marinade as a sauce