Homemade Char Siew
My philosophy for late night supper is very simple. Make it worth the calories! (Evil grin). I was super excited with the idea of making my own yummilicious "Char Siew" (Barbeque meat) as I assumed it will take a lot of effort, much experience and some rustic looking oven to make a relatively good piece of BBQ meat.
When my talented Tai-Tai friend told me that it's really easy with the magical pressure cooker, I was more convinced that maybe, just maybe, I could pull this off. :)
Excitingly, I asked my mom to help me get a suitable cut of pork for this project. And she ALWAYS delivers, the cut that she got me was perfect! It had the right balance of fat and marbled meat. This is super important.
Now, there is no step-by-step tutorial this time. Simply because it's so straight forward. Hard to believe, huh? (Really? We shall see...)
You will only need very basic ingredients like garlic, soy sauce, thickened soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce, five spice powder, and Chinese cooking wine. Who would have guessed? These simple ingredients could churn out such irresistibly delicious Char Siew!
|Look at that juicy meat with alternating layers of meat & fat|
One of THE most important thing is choosing a good cut of meat for your Char Siew. You can just tell the butcher what you are planning to do with the meat and you good-ol-neighbourhood butcher will know what to give you. You can also opt for a leaner meat if you prefer that. If you are not able to go to the market to get it directly from the butcher, then, you can buy those pre-packed pork belly from the hypermarkets. Just note that the fresher the meat, the better.
Using either a airtight container or a large ziplock bag, put in all the ingredients and marinate in the fridge overnight if possible. I had tried making this after 45 minutes and up to almost 48 hours of marinating. I will tell you that the longer you leave it, the more tender and flavorful will the Char Siew be. If you only have a short time for marinating, you can use a fork and "poke" the meat all over to help the marinate to infuse into the meat better. Relax, your Char Siew will still be delicious.
Put the meat with all the liquid marinate into the Pressure Cooker and set it at High Pressure for 10 minutes. Yes, your eyes saw it correctly, only 10 minutes. How amazing... By now, the deep aroma of all the marinate will permeate your kitchen and you are one step closer to believing that you can indeed cook a great piece of Char Siew.
If your meat is leaner or if you prefer to have a very soft texture, you can add 5-10 minutes on High Pressure.
When that's done, you will see the meat cooked with a lot of juices still in the pot. Use the Stir Fry function and cook further until the juices reduce. Now... here is a great tip from my talented Tai-Tai friend, add a tablespoon of regular honey in and this will help the juices "dry up" faster and this gives the meat a nice caramelized, gleaming finish. You can also opt to broil this in the oven for 2-3 minutes for that charred effect, but for me, this is adequate. Trust me on this one, you will be impressed by yourself! :)
This recipe is adapted from Quick & Easy Recipes For Intelligent Electronic Pressure Cooker by Chef Chan Bee Sim.
600g Pork Belly
1 teaspoon of chopped garlic (can use more if preferred)
3 tablespoons of Caster sugar
2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce (I used Cheong Chan Caramel Sauce)
1 tablespoon of Oyster sauce (I used Premium Gold Abalone Sauce)
1 tablespoon of Shaoxing Wine (I used Chinese Rose Wine)
1 teaspoon of 5 Spice powder (I used the famous brand from Penang)
1 tablespoon of honey
Note: Cut the meat with a knife for a more "professional" presentation, just like the ones you get outside. I have used a scissors before and while the meat tasted just as yummy, it lacked the visual impact. ;)