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Char Siu Chicken Recipe
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Char Siu Chicken
What is 'Char Siu'?
In my research of the term: Char Siu, I discovered that it is similar to a favorite BBQ sauce each family has for meat like beef or pork ribs. In the Asian version of this sauce spices and other Asian ingredients make it unique. Because I cook a variety of food I had most of the ingredients already in my kitchen. I bought fresh ginger and was ready to make the marinade.
This sauce is most commonly applied to pork strips and then hung in the windows enticing onlookers to enter and purchase the flavorful meat. It is also used on chicken, which is the dish I made. I found that it was easy to make and an interesting variation from bottled BBQ sauce.
Char Siu translates as: 'fork roast', derived from the way the meat was originally roasted over an open fire on long forks. Now the words are more indicative to the actual sauce that is applied to the meat. You may also see it spelled 'cha siu', 'chasu', 'chashao', or 'char siew'. It is one and the same.
In most Asian restaurants the recipe includes a red food coloring or red bean paste to make the meat turn a rosy or deep red. I did not include either of those ingredients in the recipe I used.
Notes on Preparation:
Although it is easy to blend the sauce and pour it over the meat, the prep time is increased by the amount of time the meat is marinaded. I marinaded the chicken for 12 hours, but if you have the luxury of an overnight marinade, that would enhance the flavor. I recommend no less than three hours to marinade the meat in the sauce.
Notes on: Ingredients
There are many recipes for this dish, some used garlic instead of ginger; some used both. Some added salt and sugar, omitting the honey. Some recipes used a black bean paste of two teaspoons to one tablespoon. I could not find it, so I did not add it to my recipe. Follow your instincts of what you and your family would enjoy or know what is best for you dietetically.
Doubling the ingredients
The recipe printed here is for 4 pieces of chicken. If doubling the amount of chicken be sure to also double the marinade sauce.
- 6 T Hoisin sauce
- 6 T Soy sauce, regular or low sodium
- 4 T sweet rice wine OR sweet sherry, I used cooking sherry for mine
- 4 T honey
- 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 4 pieces chicken, thighs
- Mix all ingredients together in a double boiler and simmer for 10 minutes.
- While ingredients simmer, remove the skin off of the chicken and place in a casserole dish.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken and place in the refrigerator overnight, or for the designated time you've allotted.
- Periodically turn the chicken over in the marinade.
- When marinade process is complete, cook in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until the chicken has cooked through.
- After removing from the oven, and while still hot, brush with more honey. Serve.
Cook's final notes:
This recipe can be very simple to put together as long as you have the ingredients on hand. I used fresh ginger, however, I did not mince it, I sliced it and placed them over the chicken when the marinade had been poured over the pieces.
Typically, the recipe calls for chicken thighs. The taste is delicious and different from a typical American BBQ sauce. I liked the way the Chinese 5 Spice blend was detected, along with the Hoisin and soy sauce. It had a nice blend of sweet and spice. The sauce creates a nice crisp covering and color for the meat when it finished. I hope you enjoy trying this dish.