This char siew dish is best paired with rice and a good serving of garlic ginger sweet chilli sauce, garnished with cucumber slices and Chinese parsley, according to Serene Sorensen.
Serene Sorensen takes her food seriously. “I like to ensure a recipe has been given its best potential, hence it is worth spending time to analyse and recreate a dish to make it more enjoyable and interesting,” shares the private investor in jewellery and real estate. “I like to experiment with basic recipes to find one that I like, and then tweak it to make it better by adding a few other ingredients based on my experience and creativity,” Serene continues. “In a way, this [char siew] recipe was modified to reflect my personal tastes and preference.”
According to Serene, it’s relatively fuss-free to recreate this dish.
“Most impressive and delectable meals require a lot of time and tedious steps to prepare. I love this recipe for its simplicity as well as easy preparation and execution. This dish also scores high in taste and presentation. It is an easy recipe even for first-time cooks. Those who tried this recipe love it and they want more!” Serene Sorensen shares enthusiastically. “The actual preparation time is less than 45 minutes which includes marinating the meat and grilling it. However, the meat needs to be marinated for at least six hours or overnight.”
So where did Serene learn to cook so well?
“My mother who also shares a similar love in cooking and baking,” she says. “Everyone can cook but to be a good cook, you need to put in a lot of love . I am one of the lucky ones who loves to cook.”
Here’s the recipe for Serene’s char siew.
2kg pork belly, pork neck or pork armpit cut
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
4 tablespoons light soya sauce
4 tablespoons karamel masakan (thick dark soya sauce)
4 tablespoons honey
12 generous tablespoons castor sugar
1 tablespoon Hua Tiao wine
1 teaspoon five spice powder
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1. Wash and pat dry the pork. Pierce holes throughout the pork to allow marinade to seep through
2. Combine all marinade ingredients in a large food grade zip lock bag and place the pork inside. Massage gently to ensure the pork is covered evenly with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight
3. To prepare the char siew, remove the pork from the fridge
4. Place the pork and the marinade in a deep pan with a lid. Bring to a boil with the lid on. Simmer on high heat for 20-30 minutes and turn the pork over a few times to ensure it is evenly coated with the marinade. Turn off the fire once the marinade has reached a thick consistency like a syrup
5. Transfer the pork to a baking rack with a tray underneath already lined with an aluminium foil to trap the sauce for easy disposal. Set aside the excess thick marinade from the pan for basting
6. Grill the pork in pre-heated oven at 230C for five minutes. Remove the pork from the oven, turn the pork over and brush extra marinade over the pork. Bake for another five minutes. You can repeat this process once or twice if you wish the meat to be more charred and caramelised
7. Once char siew is grilled to your preference, slice to your desired thickness and place them on a serving dish laced with cucumber slices
8. Place some Chinese parsley on top as final garnish. Serve warm with rice and a good dollop of spicy garlic ginger sweet chilli sauce. Enjoy!