Monday, March 23, 2009

Homemade char siu (叉燒)!

I made char siu last night when I couldn't do my reactor problem set... and now I'm back to update with both the recipe, and a few thoughts on junk food

First off, here's the unsliced piece of pork belly that became my char siu (叉燒). I started off with 2 pounds that I bought at Hong Kong on that trip last Wednesday, but I had the butcher guy cut it into 2 halves so it'd be more manageable. Anyway, I didn't really know what to do with so much pork belly, and I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do when I bought it, I just knew it was their 'meat of the day' and that it was cheap. So I took one of the slabs and cut off 1/4 of it for a 100 gram strip (to simplify cooking time). Then I looked up some recipes online, decided that they were all too complicated or had too many ingredients I didn't have and decided to wing it. It was a good decision I think. So here's the recipe...

100 grams pork belly (or whatever cut you like I guess, I wanted a fattier one)
2 tbsp. shao xing cooking wine (紹興酒)
1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tsp. hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. 5 spice powder (五香粉)
1 tbsp. honey + 1 tbsp. water (for the glaze)
dash of pepper

Basically, it's as stupid simple as mixing everything aside from the honey together in a bag and marinating the meat for as long as possible. Oh yeah... score the meat a little before marinating, it'll help with the juices being absorbed. As far as the characteristic red color, you could either go with food coloring or using a chili powder that is virtually tasteless (the route I went lol). After marinating for what seems like forever, place the meat into a roasting pan covered with a sheet of aluminum foil, and over that, tent another piece of foil. Please don't ignore the tenting part, unless you want to have blackened pork. Roast at 425 for 10 minutes before removing the foil and roasting for another 10 minutes (it's at this point that any marinate you had saved from before can be used to remoisturize the meat if it's getting too dry). After the 20 minutes are up, throw it on the grill, or in my case, under the broiler, and drizzle on the honey water mixture. Just wait until a nice char develops and you're done! Actually, you get to see the honey water mixture bubble with the fat, it's pretty sweet to watch...

I waited about, uh... 10 minutes (very impatient) before slicing it. Trust me, the crispness of the fat is so satisfying to cut into, and the juices that flow out are quite fragrant (which I saved for the veggies the next day haha, in addition to the leftover marinate!). Next day, I stir fried some Kailan (芥蘭), onions, and baby bella mushrooms from Trader Joe's with the oils and marinate sauce, and just served the pork over rice, ridiculously simple and good. So yeah, there's no secret to how I cook my veggies, use leftover sauces (albeit ones that have sat with fatty pieces of meat for long periods of time), and oils/fats rendered from said fatty pieces of meat. I'm sure I'm not helping certain demographics *cough* feistyfoodie.

Also, last night marked the last day I planned on doing my carb up days, so I treated myself to dozen Dunkin Donuts, some poptarts, some more candybars, a slice of pizza from Pinnacle, as well as the 'Pinnacle Burger Deluxe,' review to come. Once again, I ate until I felt sick, reminding myself that I hate junk food. Well this morning, I did 25 miles on the bike (feeling great I might add), and had a couple of thoughts. First being... is myinnerfatty going to become myouterfatty again? Second thought... 'Man I hate Chris for showing me how to get stuff from vending machines.' Then I realized, this entire thing is a paradox, fat me could never get his arm up far enough in the vending machines, so this trick only works if I'm thin enough. So, should the day come where I've gained too much weight too quickly, it'll be self correcting. It was at this point that I realized all was good in the world (that and having a housing lottery number of 94 as a senior) pure... win.

To close, I'd like to announce (with details to come) a giveaway for my blog. I'm trying to trick more people into reading, so I figured I could use some good publicity ha. Anyway, I have a boatload of cookies, candy, and assorted other sweets left over from my carb up, so I'll be combining that with... a homemade strip of char siu... and probably a columbia shirt as a little swag thing for reading. I'll announce more when I review Pinnacle's burger later this week... so stay tuned!


Dominic said...

Nick, I love this blog.

Yvo Sin said...

Wo. I can't wait to see the process. Oh, and this might seem weird, but how did you make the bok choi? I'm always looking for new ways to spice that up. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Okay, since when do you cook, why haven't I been invited to go grocery shopping with you, and what the hell is a carb up?

Unknown said...

P.S. My favorite food blog to read:

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