‘Char siew’ literally means ‘fork burn or fork roast’ 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.
The meat, typically a shoulder cut, is seasoned with a mixture of honey, five-spice powder, fermented tofu, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, red food colouring (optional) and rice wine. These seasonings turn the exterior layer of meat dark red. (Source: WIKIPEDIA)
Char siew is typically consumed either in a bun, with noodles, or with rice. The accompaniments served with char siew are strongly influenced by regional variation.
There is a good step by step recipe HERE if you want to make it from scratch or you could use my recipe below. You could also use Lee Kum Kee premade Char Siew sauce to make the char siew. It is passable. Just follow the instructions on the jar.
The recipe I normally use is from my Wendy Hutton book, ‘Singapore Food’ and it is as follows.
1 kg pork fillet or boneless loin - in long piece
4 cloves garlic – crushed
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp chinese rice wine
2 tsp tomato sauce
1 tsp chinese five spice powder
½ tsp powdered ginger
Red food colouring – optional
Cut the pork lengthwise into strips about 4 cm thick. Combine all ingredients and marinade the pork for at least 2 hours, turning from time to time.
Put the pork on a greased rack set over a pan at least 4 cm of water and roast for about 45 mins to an hour at 230˚C, basting with the marinade every 10 to 15 mins. Allow to cool, cut into thin slices and use as a supplement to HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE, noodle dishes or stir fries.