My kitchen has been feeling neglected lately. With all the craziness of the holidays, it’s been weeks since I’ve had the time or energy to contemplate a cooking project, let alone actually accomplish one. This is probably why my list of resolutions is basically a list of foods to make!
To get back into the groove, I decided to start the new year with a two-part project: making Chinese BBQ pork and then using it as a stuffing in Chinese steamed buns (Char Siu Bao). Steamed buns are one of my favorite dim sum treats and since I hadn’t ever made them before, I thought it was about time to check them off my list of missions to accomplish.
For the steamed buns, I used a Fine Cooking recipe that I found online more than a year ago. The link can be found here. In that recipe there is a sub recipe for the BBQ pork so I started there. While I could have purchased the prepared meat from a Chinese grocer, I think there’s something infinitely more fun about a project if it’s all made from scratch.
So I bought a two-pound boneless pork loin, cut it into fourths and marinated it in a mix of soy, honey, rice wine, hoisin and oyster sauce. Oh, and a hefty dash of five spice as well. The marinade itself smelled fantastic so I was pretty excited about the project so far.
I let the pork marinate overnight, turning it every once in a while to coat.
The next day I pulled it out, placed it on a sheet pan covered in parchment and baked it for about thirty minutes, basting every so often. As soon as the meat was just cooked through I turned on the broiler to get a little char. Once it had the right color, I pulled it out to let it rest before slicing into it.
The first bite, moments later, was a nervous one. I was afraid the final result would be dry or (worse) simply ‘meh.’
But I was blown away the flavor. It was good — really, really good. The seasoning was spot-on. It turned out slightly salty, a bit sweet and downright addictive. I also really appreciated the marinade’s use of five spice — sometimes I find the spice blend overwhelming but this was just the right amount.
This stuff was pure magic.
I started with one taste and before I knew it I had downed five or six slices. It was hard to stop long enough to take pictures but somehow I managed to snap a few in-between bites…
My next post will follow up on the final mission (delicious Char Siu Baos!) but the uses for this pork should not be limited to steamed buns. I’ve used it a few times now in fried rice and it’s amazing. It would work just as well in any kind of stir fry or Asian noodle dish. It’d be great in a bowl of ramen too.
Seriously. Make this!