I just fancied some Char Siu pork the other day whilst pondering what to make one night. I was in the supermarket when the pang hit me, at this point I had never made any Char Siu ever before. If you read my recipes regular you will know that I am always looking for a bargain. My Char Siu minced pork was created.
I was in the supermarket around the time the reductions are on but there were no decent cuts of pork reduced. However I did notice a pack of reduced minced pork, why not use that. The theory was to use all the same ingredients and create Char Siu minced pork. I quickly googled the ingredients for Char Siu and I discovered that I already had them in the cupboard at home.
Minced Char Siu The Concept
Usually the Char Siu ingredients are applied to the outside of the pork and left to marinate. Why not mix the flavours in the minced pork and there will be flavour in every bite. As ever with my recipe creation there isn’t any exact measurements of ingredients. Nearly forgot a splash of sesame oil as well.
I had remembered what I had googled for the Char Siu marinated so I just added them. Starting with Chinese five spice, soya sauce, rice wine vinegar and sugar. So then into the fridge to let those flavours soak into the minced pork
- 1 Pack of minced pork
- 3 tsp of Sesame Oil
- 3 tsp of Chinese 5 spice
- 2 large table spoons of sweet hoisin sauce
- 2 tsp of rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp of brown sugar
- 2 tsp of dark soya sauce
- 2tsp of tomato sauce
- 2 tsp of Korean chilli paste (more for the colour)
- Noodle Dish
- 1 large pak choi
- 5 spring onions
- 1 inch piece of ginger (match sticks)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- I chilli deseeded and sliced
- 1 pepper (any colour)
- hand full of cubed leftover pork
- hand full of frozen prawns
- 1 tsp 5 spice powder
- soya sauce
- Oil for cooking
- Coriander to serve
First of all add all the marinade ingredients to your minced pork, mix well and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 mins
Once the mixture has become a little firmer shape them into mini Char Siu minced pork balls and place on a baking tray
In a medium oven back the Char Siu balls for 15 minutes. At this point you can allow them to cool and assemble the dish later. You could even freeze the Char Siu balls at this point if you have made to many.
Next in a pan of boiling water add the Chinese 5 spice powder and a few slugs of light soya sauce. Cooked the noodles as instructed on the packet.
Now take a large wok and add the garlic, ginger and chilli to the cold pan with oil.
Once the aroma starts add the sliced pak choi, sliced peppers and 3/4 of the spring onions
Cook until the veg begins to wilt a little. Now add some stock from the noodles and add the ham and prawns.
Once the veg has wilted some more now add the mini Char Siu balls and add more stock from the noodles
When the Char Siu balls have warmed through check the stock, add more hoisin sauce and soya sauce if needed.
Pull out the noodles from the pan straight into the wok and heat through. Also add the remaining spring onions and a handful of coriander if desired.
As the ginger, garlic and chilli have been poached in the stock the flavour is much milder but fragrant.
Traditional Char Siu Cooking
It is though that originally this recipe comes from the Cantonese cooking know as Siu Mei. Roughly translated it means Cantonese roast meats. Most types of roasting involves searing the outside of the meet so this could be the first problem for my Char Siu minced pork recipe.
Char siu literally means “fork roasted” (siu being burn/roast and cha being fork, both noun and verb) after the traditional cooking method for the dish. Long strips of seasoned boneless pork are skewered with long forks and placed in a covered oven or over a fire (Wiki). There are variations of the Char Siu recipe in Hong Kong cuisine along with the Chinese and Japanese Cuisine. Some times red food dye is added to get the golden red ring around the meat. Similar to the smoked BBQ smoke rings.
Cuts of Pork For The Char Siu Recipe
Originally the pieces of pork would have been lean cuts which of course lacks some flavour. Hence the reason for covering the meat in a sticky tasty glaze. So pork loin was first used and cut into thin strips then cooked over an open flame. This helped to cook the meat quickly and also give it that charred flavour.
Moving on then people started to use belly pork to make Char Siu, this gives it a more succulent taste. Belly pork is self basting keeping the meat nice and tender. Pork but can also be used as that also has fat within it. If you are worried about eating fat then you shouldn’t, pork fat cooked correctly just melts away.
Char Siu Minced Pork Cooking
Now I wanted to recreate that chared flavour that Char Siu pork usually has so thinking cap on. I roughly shaped the Char Siu marinated minced pork into little balls. I then turned the frying pan on to a medium to high heat for the first test. The char effect was working perfectly, well pretty good due to the sticky marinade so I turned the mini Char Siu balls regularly.
This ensured that they didn’t burn too much whilst cooking plus you want to keep some moisture in there. So all cooked I tasted one, the flavour of the mini Char Siu balls was delicious, however they were a little dry. Thats how it works with concept cooking, it’s never usually perfect the first time. I had 4 mini Char Siu balls left so what to eat them with and help to moisten them. I had the perfect accompaniment in the fridge, my kebab shop salad great with grilled meats. Grab a wrap from the bread bin and sorted, a perfect match, well nearly but it tasted good.
The Second Cooking Of The Char Siu Minced Pork
It was just a small pack of minced pork but obviously there was a lot left and it needed cooking. The reason it needed cooking that night was because it was reduced and about to go out of date. Cooking the minced pork would give it a longer life. I regularly work out of my friends office so I quite often take up food to cook for them.
I wanted to keep these dry so a different cooking method was needed. The oven, perfect so I grabbed a backing tray and some grease proof paper. I shaped again mini Char Siu balls and laid them out on the sheet and popped them in a medium oven. They were only in there for around 15 minutes and they were just about cooked. This time they were moist, of course I tried another one.
Mini Char Siu Balls
So they have been cooked cooled and now in the fridge ready for tomorrows lunch at the office. I must add at this point my friends office is at the side of the house so I have a proper kitchen to work from. Even though I had quite a few mini Char Sui balls.
Noodles, dried noodles is the answer, very Chinese and they always pack out any meal. To compliment the flavour of the pork I cooked the dried noodles in water flavoured with hoisin sauce and a little Chinese 5 spice. The thinking behind this was that I could use the cooking water for the noodles in the final dish to add a little sauce.
The only ingredient I wanted in this dish was pak choi so I actually paid full price for a packet of 2 but only used 1. Now for more traditional Chinese flavours. Chilli, garlic and ginger is always a classic start to any Chinese recipe. I also used peppers and spring onions. Then added some leftover ham and a handful of frozen prawns.
I chopped an inch of ginger into match sticks along with some garlic into slices. Then at this point add some chillies, as many as you want as its all down to taste. I only added less than a quarter of a chilli as I don’t like it to be overpowered. In a large wok add a splash of oil and then the garlic, chilli and ginger. Once the oil starts to warm you should get an aroma and at this point add you pak choi, sliced peppers and 3/4 of the spring onion.
Don’t Burn The Garlic
To keep the temperature of the pan down as not to burn the garlic I added all the ingredients. As the veg start to warm through now add the chopped ham and frozen prawns, bringing down the temperature again. Now add some of the cooking stock from the noodles to the pan. You want this on a high heat to start wilting all the veg, once they start add the mini Char Siu minced pork balls.
Add more stock at this point and taste the sauce in the bottom of the pan. If it isn’t seasoned enough then add a little soya sauce and a couple of teaspoons of sweet hosing sauce. Now add the mini Char Siu minced pork balls, turn down the heat and add more stock to gently warm them through. Add the noodles and done.
Freeze the Char Siu Minced Pork Balls
The great thing about this dish is using minced pork makes it a great cheap dinner Idea. You can also freeze the mini Char Siu balls after you have cooked them in the oven, especially if you’re just making meals for one. Just grab a few from out of the freezer a couple hours before you need them.
Other Great Quick Cheap Chinese Dishes
One of my favourites of the Chinese dishes because its so quick and easy is Easy Egg Fried Rice. I do need to put more of my Chinese recipes on here when I get time as I do cook quite a few of them.