Monday 8th February sees in the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Monkey. Sounds like the perfect excuse to monkey around, get up to some monkey business and have more fun than a barrel of monkeys doesn’t it?!!
OK OK, I’ll spare you the cheesy monkey phrases, but it’s hard to resist when I am so excited. You see, I LOVE Chinese food, and as we are always in the UK at the time of Chinese New Year, we never fail to celebrate the occasion at our favourite Chinese restaurant, Jade Cottage, and it’s always Chinese food carnage – leaving the restaurant at least two pounds heavier than when I arrived!
However, my imminent Chinese banquet is not the only reason for my excitement, because Chinese New Year also gives me the perfect excuse to call upon the culinary prowess of fellow food blogger Diana Gale (A.K.A. The Domestic Goddess Wannabe) and share her wonderful Pork Belly Char Siu Recipe.
Char siu is a Cantonese barbecued pork dish. As a child I always turned my nose up at pork, but I am now a self-confessed pork convert – I worship pork, for pork is wonderful, and Char Siu is even better! At the weekend, my hubby and I love to take a walk down to Pike Place Market for a freshly steamed Char Siu Bao.
I knew I was on to a winner when I spotted this recipe on Diana’s blog, for not only is it full of authentic Chinese flavours, but she also braises AND grills the pork resulting in an extremely tender, juicy and flavoursome char siu that melts in the mouth – divine!
To make Diana’s Pork Belly Char Siu, start by making the marinade. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, oyster sauce, light and dark soy sauces, and the Shaoxing wine. Shaoxing wine is a type of dry Chinese wine, if you cannot find this you can substitute this with a dry Vermouth, Scotch, dry white wine, or a dry sherry.
Before cooking, take the pork out of the fridge for approximately 30 minutes to an hour to let it come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 445°F (230°C) on grill and fan mode.
Reserving the marinade, place the pork onto a rack and grill for 10 minutes on each side, allowing the juices to drip onto a drip tray below.
Place the grilled char siu into the skillet with the marinade, adding the drippings from the tray, and braise on the hob for 15 minutes, turning the pieces occasionally. If the liquid dries out too much, add a little water and continue cooking.
Return the char siu back to the rack and grill for another 2-3 minutes on each side, until the char siu is charred.
In the meantime, continue to boil the marinade until it has thickened. When the char siu is done, brush the thickened sauce on the pork.
Cut the char siu into small chunks, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve with a bowl of steamed rice and a bottle of Tsingtao beer…
…Happy Year of the Monkey!
To make this recipe Diana Gale used tools and gadgets from the Tovolo range.
Readers in the UK, France, Germany, Spain & Italy can now purchase items in the Tovolo range from the Arugula & Rocket Cookshop on Amazon.
You can also find more recipes from Diana Gale on her blog The Domestic Goddess Wannabe.
Pork Belly Char Siu
1kg Pork Belly
90g Oyster Sauce
4 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine (or dry Vermouth, Scotch, dry white wine, or a dry sherry.)
1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
Sesame Seeds for Garnishing (optional)
In a bowl, combine sugar, oyster sauce, light and dark soy sauces and Shaoxing wine.
Remove the skin of the pork and cut the pork belly into strips about 3-4cm thick. Coat the pork with the marinade.
Marinate for at least 6 hours, over-night if possible. Remember to turn the pork occasionally.
Before cooking, take the pork out of the fridge and leave it to come to room temperature, for about 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 445°F (230°C) on grill and fan mode. Grill the pork for 10 minutes on each side, allowing the juice to drip onto a drip tray below.
Place the left over marinade in a skillet or wok and bring to a boil.
Transfer the char siu to the skillet. Add the drippings from the tray and cook the pork for 15 minutes, turning occasionally. If it gets too dry, add a little water and continue cooking.
Return the char siu back to the oven and grill for another 2-3 minutes on each side, until the char siu is charred.
In the meantime, continue to boil the marinade until it has thickened.
When the char siu is done, brush the thickened sauce onto the pork.
Cut the pork into chunks, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
Recipe courtesy of The Domestic Goddess Wannabe.