SINGAPORE - Savour tender honey-glazed char siew that is so easy to make at home. Better yet, you do not even need an oven to roast it and replicate that slightly charred exterior. With a sturdy wok, you can produce char siew with results that will have your family and friends clamouring for more.
The best part about home cooking is that you call the shots when it comes to the choice of ingredients. Commonly used cuts of meat used for char siew are the pork collar or shoulder butt (wu hua rou in Mandarin), or pork belly. For a leaner cut, some opt for meat from the front trotters, just above the hock, known as “twee bak” in Hokkien. I avoid lean cuts for char siew as the lack of fat can result in a tough and chewy texture.
The choiciest cut - my personal favourite - for making char siew is the pork neck, colloquially known as “fei ji rou” in Mandarin. It is pricier but worth every cent as the meat has the right amount of fat and renders char siew that is mouth-wateringly succulent and moist.
When making char siew, I skip the use of red food dye as I much prefer the luscious glistening caramelised colour of the char siew.
While you do not need an oven, a quality wok will certainly help to make your char siew dreams come true.
Honey and sugar in the marinade give the meat aromatic sweetness but the flipside is that the sauce can burn easily during cooking. Using non-stick cookware helps prevent the exterior of the meat getting burnt before the interior is cooked through.
I used a 32-cm wok from the new line of Corningware Plasma Cast Aluminium Cookware recently launched by kitchenware maker and distributor Corelle Brands. The product line includes a 28-cm saute pan and a 5-litre sauce pot.
Care for your cookware
1. Before using the cookware for the first time, hand wash it thoroughly with warm soapy water. Rinse and dry.
2. For stubborn residue, make cleaning easier by pouring hot water and a little detergent into the cookware. Allow the water to cool before washing.
The cookware crafted from cast aluminium has excellent heat distribution and you need only low to medium heat to cook your food. It also has a patented medical grade bio-ceramic coating that stands up to abrasion and heat well. The cookware can be used on gas, induction, halogen and electric coil cookers.
When cooking the char siew in the wok, I found that the meat cooked fairly evenly and I was able to control the degree of caramelisation towards the end of the cooking process.
Coming up next week is a recipe for Fried Oyster Omelette.
PAN-FRIED CHAR SIEW
1kg pork (fei ji rou), cut into 4 pieces lengthwise
4 Tbs Shaoxing wine
¼ tsp Chinese rose wine
110g fine sugar
6 Tbs honey
2 Tbs oyster sauce
1 Tbs fermented soya bean paste
1 Tbs light soya sauce
2 Tbs dark soya sauce
1 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1. Rinse the meat and place in bowl. Add the Shaoxing wine and Chinese rose wine. Set the meat aside to chill for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the marinade.
2. In a bowl, add the sugar, honey, oyster sauce, fermented soya bean paste, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and salt. Mix well.
3. Add the chopped garlic. Mix well.
4. Wearing disposable plastic gloves, massage the marinade into the meat.
5. Cover with clingwrap and place the meat to marinate in the fridge for three to four hours.
6. Without using oil, place the meat in the wok. Add in all of the excess marinade. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes then bring the heat down to low. Turn each piece of meat over to ensure they are well-coated with the sauce.
7, Let the meat continue to cook covered, over low heat, for another 25 minutes. Turn the meat over every 10 minutes. The sauce will lessen and thicken as the meat cooks.
8. Use a skewer to check that the meat is cooked. Remove the meat from the pan and allow the meat to rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
Makes six servings.
Kitchenware courtesy of Corelle Brands.
Enjoy discounted prices when you purchase Corningware Plasma Cookware from now until the end of October (2018), while stocks last.
The promotional price for the 32-cm wok is $89 (usual price: $109), the 28-cm saute pan is $79 (usual price: $99), and the 24-cm sauce pot is at $69 (usual price: $89).
The cookware is available for purchase at BHG Bugis, Tangs VivoCity, OG Albert, OG Orchard Point, OG People’s Park.
Corningware is celebrating its 60th anniversary with roadshows. For more information, go to www.corellebrandsasia.com/event-promotions
For enquiries, call 6468 2008.