Braised Char Siew (or Non-bake Char Siew)

Braised Char Siew (no-bake)

I’ve been wanting to make Char Siew for a while now. I have a go-to recipe that my friend, Maria shared with me a while ago but that recipe requires me to marinate the meat for at least 2 days or more before baking. But because I was craving some char siew immediately and didn’t want to pay over $6/lb for it at the Chinese BBQ shop, I decided to try this recipe that I found at Baking Mum’s blog.So I went off to the Asian grocery store and came home with major poundage of boneless, country style pork ribs. I prepped about 2/3 of it with Maria’s recipe and those are now sitting in my freezer waiting for the next time I crave char siew (I will give you that recipe in another post).

Quick and Easy…With a Couple of Tweaks

But the rest I saved for this recipe. It’s really quite easy and only requires a 4-hour marinating time before cooking so if you prepare early enough, you could get it cooked the same day you buy your meat. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even give it 4 hours. I only had enough time for a 3-hour marinade time before I started to cook it and as you can see from the picture, it is good enough.

A couple of comments on the recipe–the original sugar amount was much too high for me. I ended up cutting the sugar a little and still found it too sweet. I would cut it more next time so in my adapted recipe, I will just put in the lesser amount.

Also, it was not salty/savory enough for me so I added more soy sauce and also a dash of fish sauce (about 1 tbsp). And then, because I can’t help myself, I also added some garlic paste from Gourmet Garden (about 2 Tbsp). I would have used fresh garlic but the meat was already braising down when I tasted the sauce and wanted to kick it up a notch really quickly and GG’s herb and spice pastes are really convenient for such occasions.

Braised Char Siew

(adapted from Baking Mum’s Non-Bake Char Siew recipe)

1000g boneless, country-style pork ribs (belly pork will also work, don’t use pork that is too lean)
100g sugar (originally 140g – you might even want to cut the sugar even more)
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup light soy sauce
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp garlic, minced fine or use Gourmet Garden’s Garlic paste
600 ml water
a little red coloring (I added a couple of drops of red food coloring, it’s really red at first but as the sauce cooks down, it darkens).
2 tbsp oil (optional – I didn’t end up using this at all because I thought the pork fat glazed itself fine)

1. Mix the sugar, salt, light and dark soy sauce
, fish sauce, water and red food coloring in a bowl.
2. Add in the pork and marinate for about 4 hours.
3. Take pork out and set aside and pour marinate into a wok. Bring to a boil.

Marinated Char Siew Pork

Marinated Char Siew Pork

4. Add in the pork and bring to a boil again.

Pork boiling in char siew marinade

5. Lower heat to medium or medium-low and simmer meat, uncovered, until meat is tender and sauce has thickened. Turn the meat around a few times during the cooking process to ensure even cooking.
6. At the end, the sauce will resemble a thick syrup (in about 45 minutes to 1 hour). At this point, you can choose to add the extra oil for more sheen but I didn’t find it necessary.

Braised Char Siew

7. Remove pork from sauce and slice.

Slicing Braised Char Siew (no-bake)

You can save the syrup and dilute it with a bit of water, and serve it on the side to add to your rice or meat. Any extra syrup will also be yummy with other dishes later.


Cheers, Annie

38 thoughts on “Braised Char Siew (or Non-bake Char Siew)”

  1. >@K and S – ah, chashu. Still good, but yeah not like the sweet Chinese style.

    @Jude – if we had any left, we’d try to make our baked char siu buns again. Oh well, next time!

    @mysimplefood – you’re welcome!

    @Food 4 Tots – no, I don’t think five spice is essential.

    @Sarah and Gan – do try it and let us know how it turns out for you!

    @Foong – thanks!

  2. >OMG, I love, *love* pork char siu! If it’s on the menu , I order it but have never thought to make my own from scratch. This looks really manageable though – thanks!

  3. >I made this last night for dinner. My husband couldn’t stop eating it before I even plated it. It was so good, the meat was flavorful and soft like the one I got home.

    Next time,when I make it I think I will omit the fish sauce, I find it a little strong for me.
    Regardless it was still good.

    Thanks Annie!

  4. >@Sandrine – great to hear! thanks for telling us how irresistible they are to your hubby. 🙂

  5. >This recipe is really going to keep me busy in the kitchen with all its glamor. This is another must for the weekend! My kids would just hug me for this.

  6. Hi Annie,

    Do you plan to post about the charsiu recipe which needs to marinate for 2 days? If not, do you think you can email it to me? I’m quite interested to seeing what it’s like!


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