Homemade Char Siew

Traditionally, char siew is made either grilled or roasted in the oven. Not having a commercial kitchen feels like a very tedious process to me. Yes, I have an oven, but somehow I still love most of my meals being cooked over the stove.

I came across this post on Facebook that cooks char siew over the stove using a wok. So how can I miss trying this out. But I have to say, this is best eaten within the day. I tried leaving it to the next day for the office potlunch, and it ended up being a little dry and tough. But nonetheless, still so yummy that I can eat non-stop!


Closed up on the sliced Char Siew!

So presenting recipe for…

Homemade Char Siew (Source: Food Canon Auntie Ruby’s Char Siew)


For 1 kg of Shoulder or Belly Pork (serves 4-6), cut into long stips of about 2-3 inch in diameter

 1 teaspoon – salt
1 teaspoon – sesame oil
1 teaspoon – dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon – pepper
2 tablespoon – honey
2 tablespoon – sugar
2 tablespoon – Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon – Shiao Shing or Chinese wine
1 tsp: 5-spice powder
1tsp soda bicarbonate (optional)


To cook add:
2 tablespoon – oil
1 soup bowl of water

1. Mix all ingredients for the sauce. Marinate the meat in the sauced for a few hours.

2. Heat up wok with the oil. When the oil is hot enough, add meat and brown it slightly.

3. Pour in the marinade or sauce to be. Add a small bowl of water. Simmer in small to medium flame for about 30-40 minutes.

4. Turn the strips of pork every once in a while. Grab a pair of cooking scissors and snip off some parts till it’s tender enough

5. After simmering, the sauce would start to thicken. If the meat is still tough but your sauce has thickened, add some water. What you definitely want is the caramelization towards the end, the burnt bits appearing. This will not work if there is too much water in the sauce.

6. Alternatively, you can remove some of the sauce and burn the CS further. If you are using belly, the oil would have oozed out after 40 mins or so and you are almost frying your meat.

7. Removed the sauce and char the meat further. As the liquid in the wok dries up, the heat applied to the meat will increase, and you are effectively searing the meat (Mallard reactions).

8. Once the meat is charred enough, remove from wok. Let the meat rest for a good 30 mins or more. As sliced meat will dry up faster, only slice the meat when you want to serve and the rest can be kept till later.


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