[Sca-cooks] Yule Celebrations

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Sun Jan 21 15:52:14 PST 2007

On Jan 21, 2007, at 4:44 PM, Nick Sasso wrote:

> Many pardons, please,
> I have been hunting around for a recipe for a good, rich, deep  
> flavored char
> siu pork.  I find a few online that could fit the bill, but I don't  
> know
> exactly what it is that makes the key flaroving.  Could be the hoi  
> sin, or
> oyster flavored sauce, or even the 5 spice powder.  None of the  
> recipes I
> find have all of them, but various combinations of them.  Honey,  
> soy and
> ginger do seem consistant.  Most indicate butt/shoulder, but I  
> suspect that
> fresh ham or the butt end of a loin would work out just fine.
> Does anyone prepare this or have the penultimate recipe?  Master  
> A . . . I
> figure you are a possible candidate for this pork masterpiece.  You  
> gots
> something?  I'm doing an exploratory of modern braised and slow- 
> roasted pork
> dishes.  Char siu came up, so here I am.

Most restaurants in my experience use rice malt syrup, a mixture of  
light and dark soy sauces,a splash of some distilled spirit, such as  
vodka (this helps dry the meat, concentrate the flavors, and pull in  
the other seasonings) finely minced ginger, and either five-spice  
powder or star anise, plus a few drops of red food coloring  
[optional], marinating the meat at least overnight. Usually it's pork  
shoulder butt / blade roast cut into 1-inch x 2-inch x X inches long  
strips along the grain (so that the strips, when cooked, are sliced  
across the grain into 1x2-inch slices), and it generally contains  
some MSG. In some versions you can't detect much more than maltose  
and food coloring.

However, my father-in-law's formula was much less sweet (and had no  
red coloring, ever, except for that anti-oxidant-rich ham color if  
you marinate it long enough). It involved about a Tbs of minced  
ginger (I just use the fine holes on a box grater), a Tbs of crushed,  
chopped garlic, and equal parts (say about three Tbs each) of Hoisin  
Sauce, Brown Bean Paste, and Plum Sauce. To this is added enough soy  
sauce (my father-in-law preferred dark, I  prefer light, figuring it  
doesn't make much difference with the other colors involved, and he'd  
add salt separately, while I generally don't), maybe another couple  
of Tbs, to make a thickish liquid about the consistency of heavy  
cream. Booze is optional. Stir in about 1/2 tsp five-spice powder.  
Marinate at least about 12 hours or overnight, roast in a hot oven or  
broil, basting at least  once in the process.

Allow to sit at least five minutes, or ideally almost at room  
temperature, before slicing.

Sometimes the old gent would just say to h**l with it and use ginger  
and brown bean paste only (especially for spare ribs), but the  
Toysanese are known for the saltiness of their cookery, while further  
to the South, say, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, the cooking tends to be  



"S'ils n'ont pas de pain, vous fait-on dire, qu'ils  mangent de la  
brioche!" / "If there's no bread to be had, one has to say, let them  
eat cake!"
     -- attributed to an unnamed noblewoman by Jean-Jacques Rousseau,  
"Confessions", 1782

"Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy -- or go on Prozac?"
     -- Susan Sheybani, assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry  
Holt, 07/29/04

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