Indulge in the irresistible flavors of sticky, sweet, succulent, and tender red pork (Char Siu BBQ pork). Get ready to savor every mouthwatering bite of this deliciously satisfying dish!
Enjoy this easy homemade version of this delicious dish to satisfy your taste buds.
- Red Pork in Thailand (Moo Dang)
- Why You'll Love This Chinese Barbecue Pork
- The Best Pork Cuts for Red Pork Recipe
- What is Red Fermented Bean Curd (Tofu)
- Ingredients for Char Siu Pork Recipe
- How to Make Chinese BBQ Pork Recipe
- How to Use Chinese BBQ Pork Char Siu
- Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Char Siu
- Helpful Kitchen Tools for This Recipe
- Variations & Substitutes
- Storage for Your Red Pork
- Top Tip
- History of Char Siu pork and Thai cuisine
- More Thai Pork Recipes You'll Love
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Red Pork (Char Siu BBQ Pork)
Red Pork in Thailand (Moo Dang)
When strolling the streets of Thailand, you can't miss the tempting aroma of Chinese roast pork hanging from vendor carts. The strips of pork with vibrant red color, sticky texture, and sweet flavor make it irresistible.
In this recipe, we pay homage to the traditional Cantonese cuisine, bringing the flavors of Chinese barbecue pork to Thailand. While the Thai version is similar, each chef adds a unique touch to cater to different tastes.
This recipe is my personal take on the delectable Chinese roast pork that I have always enjoyed during my visits to Thailand, particularly Chinese BBQ shops in Bangkok's Chinatown. However, you can find variations of this dish all over the country.
With Chinese New Year just around the corner, it's the perfect time to indulge in this homemade char siu. So, let's get started and create a mouthwatering dish that will impress your family and friends!
Why You'll Love This Chinese Barbecue Pork
You'll love this Chinese barbecue pork because it's so versatile! You can use it in many dishes like soups, rice, and salads, or even serve it as an appetizer. The flavors are absolutely delicious - rich, full of spices, and savory seasoning used in restaurant-style Chinese restaurants.
It's like enjoying the flavors of Chinese BBQ pork without needing any special culinary expertise.
The sticky char siu is made using an easy recipe, and the smaller pieces make it perfect for an appetizer. It's the ultimate comfort food with its savory flavor.
So go ahead and try this Chinese barbecue pork - you won't be disappointed!
The Best Pork Cuts for Red Pork Recipe
The best pork for making Char Siu is the pork butt and shoulder. These fattier cuts give the dish more flavor. Avoid using lean cuts like pork loin, pork chops, or pork tenderloin.
They can become dry and lack the juicy tenderness that makes Char Siu delicious.
You can find harder-to-find cuts like pork neck, boneless pork shoulder, or pork butt (Boston butt)at your local butcher shop or Asian supermarket.
Look for cuts of meat without bones and ask the butcher to slice them into long strips for easy roasting.
Although pork belly is not recommended for this recipe because it is too fatty, feel free to experiment if you'd like.
What is Red Fermented Bean Curd (Tofu)
Red fermented tofu is bean curds marinated in red yeast powder and other seasonings. It gets its natural red color from the red yeast powder used in the fermentation process.
They taste like salty fermented food, similar to miso paste. It's also full of umami flavors, adding flavor to your dish.
You can find red fermented tofu at Asian markets. It is commonly used in traditional dishes like char siu, a popular Chinese barbecue pork dish.
Ingredients for Char Siu Pork Recipe
For the Marinade
- Pork shoulder. See notes on the cut of pork recommended for this.
- Garlic, minced finely for this recipe. Garlic powder is fine to use, too. More about fresh Thai herbs here.
- Red fermented tofu. These are soybeans that are fermented with red yeast rice. These come in cubes. Use one cube and a small amount of the liquid to add the red coloring to the BBQ sauce in the marinade. Find these at your local Asian grocery store.
- Chinese five-spice powder. A popular spice blend Used in many recipes in Chinese cooking. Make my recipe for an even fresher and more flavorful spice blend.
- Sweet soy sauce. This is the thick, dark, sweet soy sauce that will give the pork its sweet, umami taste and dark color.
- Hoison sauce. A sweet and dark sauce. More about Thai sauces here.
- Light Soy Sauce. Adds the salty flavor to balance out the sweetness of pork.
- White or black pepper. This is where the Thai twist comes in—using white pepper. Read more about Thai spices here.
- Rice wine vinegar. It adds just a touch of tang to balance out the sweet sauces. It also helps tenderize the meat a bit.
- Brown sugar. Adds a caramelized sweetness to the red pork.
- Shaoxing wine. Optional. Adding a nutty and slightly sweet flavor to the pork creates more authentic flavors. These can be found at your local Asian market.
- Sesame oil. Optional. For added fragrance. Toasted or regular sesame oils are fine.
- Water. To add some volume to the Char siu sauce.
- Red food coloring. Optional. You can skip the food coloring. Your red pork will not be as red. If you are ok with that, skip it. It's purely a personal preference here.
For the Glaze
Use this glaze to brush on the pork towards the last half of your baking for added sweetness and sheen the Char sui pork is known for.
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon water
How to Make Chinese BBQ Pork Recipe
1. In a large bowl, combine all the marinating ingredients together to create a flavorful marinade. Leave the pork out for the next step.
2. Marinate pork strips in the mixture, ensuring an even coat. Place the meat in a zip bag and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.
3. Preheat the oven and place the marinated pork on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
4. Roast the pork at an oven temperature of 375°F, basting with the reserved marinade until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
Add a little water, up to a cup, to the bottom of the pan if the meat gets too dry.
Flip the meat every 20 minutes and brush more leftover marinade for extra flavor.
5. Allow the pork to rest before slicing it into mouthwatering, sticky-sweet Char Siu perfection.
How to Use Chinese BBQ Pork Char Siu
- This red pork is excellent in Kao Moo Dang and Ba Mee Moo Dang recipes!
- Use the red pork BBQ in your favorite stir-fried dishes, in fried rice, soups, and salads, or simply serve it plain with jasmine rice or cooked rice noodles.
- Savor the Char Siu on its own in Char Siu bao buns, stir-fries, or fried rice for an authentic taste of Cantonese cuisine.
- These sauces are excellent to pair with the red pork if serving as an appetizer. The tamarind dipping sauce, Prik Nam Pla, Thai green sauce, or Thai sweet and spicy chili sauce.
Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Char Siu
- If you have a lot of excess marinade sauce, especially with a shorter marinating time, cook the sauce on medium-low heat for 5 minutes and use the sauce for dipping your red pork.
- Cooking time can be slightly different in each oven range. Add 10-15 minutes of cooking time if necessary. Add more or less time as necessary.
- Use a Meat thermometer to help gauge the doneness of the meat.
Helpful Kitchen Tools for This Recipe
Variations & Substitutes
- Have fun experimenting with various marinade ingredients! Customize the sweetness, saltiness, or spiciness to your liking. Feel free to play around with Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, sugar, and soy sauces until you find the perfect balance for your taste buds. Enjoy!
Storage for Your Red Pork
Refrigerate any leftover Char Siu for up to 3 days. Reheat on low heat in the oven, air fryer, or microwave until warm enough to eat.
Reserve some marinade to brush over the Char Siu during roasting for an extra flavor boost.
History of Char Siu pork and Thai cuisine
Char Siu pork has a fascinating history and has been adopted in Thailand. It is a traditional Chinese dish that involves slow roasting a large piece of pork over an open flame.
Long forks are used to roast the pork until it becomes tender and juicy to prepare the traditional char siu. The roasting time is crucial to achieve the perfect flavor and texture, like an authentic char siu recipe.
Char Siu is popular and widely available in Thailand, with a significant population of Chinese immigrants. In Thai, this dish is called Moo Dang, or Red pork.
You can easily find delicious red pork in various parts of Thailand, which locals and tourists enjoy. The Cantonese-style BBQ pork has left a flavorful mark on Thai cuisine, thanks to the influence of Chinese food.
More Thai Pork Recipes You'll Love
Frequently Asked Questions
The distinct red color comes from ingredients like red food colouring and red bean curd traditionally used in the marinade.
Char Siu refers to a specific style of Chinese BBQ pork, marinated and roasted to achieve its unique taste and color.
Is the red coloring in Char Siu harmful?
If using red bean curd, then it's a healthier option since it's made from natural ingredients. However, the version with food coloring is not as healthy.
That being said, the small amount of red food coloring used in Char Siu is generally considered safe when consumed in moderation.
Char Siu is a specific method of preparing BBQ pork, renowned for its sweet and savory flavors.
Red-cooked pork is a Chinese dish where pork is braised in a savory and slightly sweet soy-based sauce.
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