Auntie Ruby's Char Siew Revisited (Pork Belly Version)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

You would have probably read the first Char Siew recipe which launched this blog. I have since cooked it many times over in response to various requests. Now, for the belly version.

I tried getting belly pork at the wet market this week.

I said "tried" as the pork seller was adamant that it is not meant for Char Siew making. She kept insisting that I should use shoulder. I shrugged mine and said, "I want 2 kg belly, Auntie." "No, no...shoulder." This went on for a good minute.

Then, finally, I had to say, "But I want to try out a belly version of Char Siew. I am customer. You, seller. I buy, you sell. And if I want belly, you give me belly. Don't you know me?! I am the youngest son of Auntie Ruby. And I am the famous Food Canon who has 23 likes on his facebook page!"

Ok, only the first sentence is true. I mean, I did say that but not the rest, while they are also true factually. (23 'likes' is pathetic after a month, isn't it? I need 25 before I get the unique url: Only two more but I have run out of daughters to help me hit the target. So,..hint hint...)

She finally relented and sold me 2 kg. I must say the strips looked fresh and destined for a great CS outcome.

So, was the belly version better than shoulder? Was 2.01 an improvement over 1.0? Most who ate it said it was. I thought so too. But most in my own family disagree. And I can tell by the discarded pieces at the side of their plates which said, "If it is fat, I ain't eating that."

In any case, I will list out the recipe again and simplify some of the steps to make it easier for those who are following the recipe closely. ( I have also did a recipe using pork collar and posted it here. It tasted fabulous.)

Recipe for Auntie Ruby's Char Siew (Belly version) 

For 1 kg of pork belly


1 teaspoon - salt
1 teaspoon - sesame oil
1 teaspoon - dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon - white pepper
2 tablespoon - honey
2 tablespoon - sugar
2 tablespoon - Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon - Chinese wine or liquor
1 tsp: 5-spice powder
1tsp soda bicarbonate (optional)

To cook add:
2 tablespoon - oil
1 soup bowl of water

  1. Add oil to heated wok.
  2. Add pork and after 5 minutes, add all ingredients into the wok and simmer for 40 minutes or till the pork is tender enough.
  3. Remove most of the sauce.
  4. Caramelise the meat in medium heat. 
  5. After the Char Siew is done, glaze with some honey
See photo below. Well, your CS is done and so is the sauce which you have separated out in a bowl. That's it. If you want to avoid the hassle of cleaning the wok or smoking your house, finish the strips by grilling in the oven. 

Lovingly charred in the wok and job completed: 2 kilos of Indonesian belly pork

One of the many Char Siews platters I have been serving my friends with

Gone within minutes CS

CS Inline
CS Online
 "Eh..what about the burnt sticky wok?" my poor wife asked. 

"Hmm, just add some water and heat up the wok for a few minutes. It will make cleaning the wok a lot easier. Thank you, dear..."

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  1. great food photos! how did you get that wonderfully juicy look in the pic right at the top?

  2. I used a reasonably good compact (S90), put the dish on my balcony, zoom in on macro mode and shoot. And then I vignette it on Adobe PhotoExpress. That's about it.

  3. Since I'm a supportive bro-in-law (and more importantly since I benefit directly from all your cooking experiments) I'll contribute to your unique url!

  4. Got it!

    Thank you belly much

  5. trying out tonight. Hopefully, will be successful!

  6. So only a stainless steel wok can do? No teflon wok?

  7. emy: about any wok can "char" the pork...but depending on the quality of the wok, some may be difficult to clean or restore if they are burned.

  8. hi,
    thks soooo much for the recipe and tips aplenty. Tried it yesterday....:)
    was plain great......

  9. I just tried this recipe. Marinated the pork yesterday and cooked it today and it was brilliant! I can never fanthom why red coloring is needed in some recipes. This marinade gave it such a glossy beautiful color. Ive used belly pork and shoulder. Will be cooking this again and now I'm just thinking what to do with the char siew sauce! Lovely! Thanks!!!

    1. Leftover CS sauce..use it for cooking the next batch!

  10. hey,

    thank you very much for putting this recipe up, i live in Newcastle in the UK and its nice to be able to get good recipes for food from home.

    i have tried the char siew recipe (replaced the chinese wine with jack daniels whiskey) and it is amazing. and i can do char siew rice, put it in fried rice or have char siew noodles.

    keep up the good work!

  11. The best char Siew recipe I have tried. Simply haven & pretty easy to follow. I might have to reduce the soya a little cos it was a little salty but goes well with plain rice or noodles.
    I'm sure to make it again cos the kids were raving how yummy the char Siew. They almost licked their plates clean.
    Thanks for sharing!