Char Sui Pork

Over the last year, during the many lockdowns we have had, I’ve tried to vary my cooking and break away from my usual ‘go to’ dishes. This is partly because I know have plenty of time to do so, but also because I was given the threat that if I didn’t start using my cookbooks, I’d have to get rid of them – oh the horror!

So, with Chinese New Year only days away I thought I would experiment with a few Chinese dishes. Char Sui Pork is something I embarrassingly only tasted for the first time a few years ago. A friend and I were going to the Theatre in London and treated ourselves to a full-on feast at her families favourite restaurant in Chinatown before the show. I am surprised we managed to stay awake with the amount of food, but it was delightful and the Char Sui Pork was a dish that stood out in my mind.

I had always assumed it was a complicated dish, but I was wrong! Obviously you need time for the marinade and glaze, but the actual cooking takes no time at all.

Char Sui Pork (Serves 8)

Ingredients

1 Kg Pork Tenderloin
65ml Soy Sauce
65ml Shaoxing Wine
65ml Hoisin Sauce
65ml Oyster Sauce
50g Sugar
2 tbps Treacle
2 tsp minced Garlic
1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice
3/4 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Honey
Optional – Red Food Colouring – a few drops.

Method

  • Prepare the marinade and glaze 24 hours before you want to cook the pork.
  • In a bowl combine the soy, hoisin and oyster sauces, Shaoxing wine, sugar, treacle, garlic, chinese five spice, salt and if you want that restaurant red colour, drop in the food colouring at this point.
  • Stir well until everything is combined.
  • Into another bowl or a ziplock bag place the pork and around half the mixture into the bowl or bag.
  • Massage the pork well, making sure the joint is fully covered.
  • Place in the fridge and ideally marinate overnight.
  • Next, place the honey in a bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds until it becomes loose.
  • Place the remainder of the marinade and the melted honey into a pot and simmer on a medium-low heat, cook for around 5 mins to thicken slightly.
  • Let the sauce cool and then transfer to a clean jar or container.
  • When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 450F / 230C / 210 C Fan / Gas Mark 8.
  • The grill pan is the best thing to use for cooking, line the base with tin foil and pour about about 0.5cm deep of water into it, then place the grilling rack back on top.
  • Place the pork on the rack and baste with some of the marinade and cook for around 10 mins.
  • Remove from the oven, baste with the glaze on both sides and return to the oven for 5 mins, repeat one more time or a second time if you feel it needs it.
  • Heat up the grill, and baste the pork with the glaze and place it under the grill and grill on one side for 5 mins, turn the joint and baste again and grill for another 5 mins.
  • The pork should look glossy and darker in colour.
  • Once cooked, remove from the grill, baste with the remaining glaze and cover loosely with some tinfoil, leaving it to rest for about 10 – 15 mins before serving.

I served this dish simply with some rice and steamed Pak Choi. We had plenty of leftovers, which could be frozen, but we had it as cold cuts the next day for lunch and saved some for me to experiment with Char Sui Bao (recipe to come!).

So however you enjoy it, Gong Xi Fa Cai!