Air Fryer Recipes

Baked Char Siu

Oh, the paths we travel can sometimes lead us right into the arms of an unexpected treasure. That perfectly describes the day I stumbled upon the savory-sweet delight known as Char Siu. This traditional Cantonese dish typically involves marinating and then roasting pork to achieve a perfect balance of flavors, marked by a distinctive red hue. Listen, I know it ain’t quite the meatloaf or pot roast you’d find at the county fair, but every now and then, it’s a fine thing to step outside our cozy box of the familiar.Just imagine a tenderloin, gussied up with spices and all the trimmings, served up in a way that’ll make your potluck offerings the talk of the town. Making Char Siu might just transport you to the bustling streets of Guangzhou or the lined avenues of Hong Kong, with all the excitement of discovering something new, yet somehow comforting, that you can share with your loved ones at your very own kitchen table.

Ingredients- 2 lbs pork tenderloin- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce- 2 tablespoons soy sauce- 2 tablespoons honey- 2 tablespoons brown sugar- 2 garlic cloves, minced- 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder- 1 teaspoon red food coloring (optional, for that traditional color)- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil- 2 tablespoons rice wine (mirin)Directions1. Start by preppin’ your pork. You’ll want to trim off any excess fat to ensure your Char Siu gets that perfect glaze. Now, pat that tenderloin dry with some paper towels and set it aside.2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, minced garlic, Chinese five-spice powder, red food coloring (if you’re aiming for authenticity), sesame oil, and rice wine until smooth. This concoction is going to work wonders, I tell you.3. Place your pork in a sturdy zip-top bag and pour in the marinade, making sure to coat every inch of the meat with this rich, aromatic mixture. Seal it up and let it marinate in the fridge. Ideally, you’ll leave it be overnight, but if time’s a pinch, a couple of hours will do.4. When you’re ready to get cookin’, preheat your oven to 350°F. Place the marinated pork on a foil-lined baking sheet, and let’s save ourselves some cleanup later on, shall we?5. Roast the pork in the oven for about 25-30 minutes; or until the internal temperature reads 145°F. Every so often, baste the pork with the leftover marinade to keep it moist and flavorful.6. Once done, let it rest a spell before slicing; about 10 minutes should do. This helps the juices settle and ensures each slice is as tender as a hug from Grandma.Variations & Tips- If the store is fresh out of hoisin sauce, feel free to whip up a quick substitute with some molasses, soy sauce, vinegar, and a pinch of garlic powder mixed together.- Some folks are a little leery of food coloring. If that’s the boat you’re in, don’t fret none. Leave it out, and your Char Siu will still be tantalizingly tasty.- Now, if you’ve got a grill handy, and you aren’t shy about using it, you can finish the pork over a low flame to get some of that char and smokiness, like the folks over at the county fair with their barbecue stands.- Last of all, remember a bit of patience goes a long way with marinades. The longer the pork bathes in those spices and sauces, the more robust the flavor it’ll bring to your table.

There you have it, my dear friends. A lovely Baked Char Siu that bridges the miles and brings a taste of Cantonese wonder right into the heart of our Midwestern kitchens. Give it a try, and who knows? It just might become part of your family’s story, too.

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