I have so much fun for you today! I have one my favourite recipes of all time and I’ve partnered with an amazing group of bloggers to give away something that I’m pretty excited about. I know you know WHAT it is because I stuffed it into the title, but let’s get to the recipe before we get into the whats, hows, and whens!
Are you familiar with char siu; that flavourful, luscious, sticky-sweet, bright-red pork served in House Special Soup, fried rice, and on skewers at Chinese restaurants? I have a serious fixation on the stuff. I can’t get enough of it. The problem with satisfying my need for it is twofold:
- I don’t live near a Chinese restaurant. No. Really… It’s fifteen miles round trip to the nearest one and the nearest one is not worth driving fifteen miles round trip.
- I’m not super fond of food dyes. They kind of weird me out, honestly… That’s why you don’t see a lot of things calling for food colouring here on Foodie with Family.
With these issues in mind, I started making my own a while back and I think it tastes vastly superior to what I can get at many restaurants. I use red beet powder (Amazon affiliate link) because that not only adds a little sweetness, but adds a little red to the party without using food dye. Hey- I like pretty foods as much as the next gal,I just don’t like artificial food colouring! Does anyone else feel like diving face first into that plate?
I had a very pregnant friend visiting when I plated this dish the other day. She happily helped me dispatch of the evidence after I snapped a couple shots. Her daughter -who normally doesn’t love meat dishes- assisted in the effort, too. It didn’t take us much time to make that dish look as clean as it did before I threw a pile of food on it.
I have to say a couple of words about the ingredients out of which the marinade is made. Don’t skip the Five Spice Powder. I used to think I couldn’t stand the stuff. It turns out -unsurprisingly- that what I hated was the little jars of indeterminate age that I got from the regular grocery store that then languished in my spice drawer for years on end. Homemade Five Spice Powder is a revelation, to say the least. Made of cinnamon, fennel seed, Szechuan (or Sichuan) peppercorn, star anise, and clove, it might sound a little odd to add to a savoury dish, but I tell ya, it does something special to pork. Chances are you’re pretty familiar with all or most of those ingredients. If I were a betting woman, I’d say the ingredient that most people haven’t used is the Szechuan peppercorn. It’s a key flavour in most Szechuan food. Unlike black or white peppercorns, it’s not known to be spicy or hot, but rather, it’s citrusy and numbs the tongue a bit. All in all, after making my own Homemade Five Spice, I have to say that I’ve done a 180° on my stance and I now sprinkle a little bit of it into nearly everything! If you don’t want to make Homemade Five Spice, you can use five spice powder purchased at an Asian grocer or a well-stocked grocery store.
Are you wondering what in the world you’d do with four whole tenderloins cooked into Chinese Barbecued Pork? Aside from slicing them and serving over rice as pictured and serving to your pregnant friends, you can dice them and toss it into fried rice or onto salad, slice thinly and add to your own House Special Soup or put on split rolls with a slaw for Chinese Barbecue Pork Sliders… I’m sure there are other options I haven’t thought of yet. How would you serve these?
- 2 teaspoons Szechuan Peppercorn
- 8 whole star anise
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 good sized boneless pork tenderloins (about 4-6 pounds total weight)
- ½ cup hoisin sauce
- ½ cup soju (Korean rice liquor) or light rum
- ⅓ cup brown rice syrup or honey, plus additional for brushing while grilling
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons granulated onion or onion powder
- 2 tablespoons red beet powder (can omit or substitute with 1 teaspoon red food colouring)
- 1½ tablespoons Homemade Five Spice or purchased five spice powder
- 1½ tablespoons granulated garlic or garlic powder
- Put a clean, dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium low heat. Add the Szechuan peppercorns and shake the pan back and forth until the peppercorns are fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately add them to a spice grinder with the fennel seed and star anise. Grind until the mixture is as finely powdered as you can make it. Shake it through a fine mesh strainer. Discard what remains in the strainer. Take the sifted spices and stir in the ground cinnamon and cloves. Return this mixture to the spice grinder and grind momentarily to better combine the spices. Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool cupboard. For most potent flavour, use within three months.
- Add everything but the pork tenderloins and the spare honey to a large, resealable, zipper-top bag. Seal the bag and use your hands to gently squish and combine the ingredients until it is evenly mixed. Open the bag and add all of the pork tenderloins. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can, reseal it, place it on a rimmed baking dish and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning the bag halfway through the marinating process.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the tenderloins on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. While the tenderloins are roasting, begin preheating a grill, using high heat on half of the grill and low heat on the other half. When the tenderloins have roasted for 20 minutes, transfer them to the HIGH heat side of the grill. Drizzle honey over the tops of the tenderloins and use a heat-proof pastry brush to distribute the honey. When the bottom of the tenderloin has good colour, about 4 minutes, flip it over, drizzle it again with honey and brush to distribute. The second side should colour up more quickly than the first as it was brushed with honey. When that has nice colour and a couple of charred bits, transfer it to the LOW heat side of the grill, flipping it over in the process. Continue drizzling with honey, brushing, and grilling until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the tenderloin measures at least 145°F (medium rare). Transfer the cooked tenderloins to a clean, rimmed baking dish and lightly tent with foil. Allow them to rest for at least 3 minutes before slicing or chilling.
- Slice or dice the pork -hot, warm, or room temperature- and serve over rice, in soup, or on sandwiches or salads.
- Chill the cooked Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu) before wrapping tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Place the wrapped pork on a baking sheet and put into the freezer. When the pork is frozen firmly, place the wrapped pork in a labeled, resealable zipper top bag and freeze for up to 6 months.
- For best results, remove the desired number of cooked tenderloins from the freezer, remove the foil and double layer of plastic wrap, and thaw in the refrigerator overniht. Reheat in a 350°F in a foil covered rimmed baking dish until heated all the way through, about 15-20 minutes.
- If you're in a hurry, remove the foil and one layer of plastic wrap, then defrost gently in the microwave. Remove the last layer of plastic wrap, place in a rimmed, microwave safe dish, cover the dish with plastic wrap, venting one corner, and reheat on medium temperature until hot all the way through. The timing of this will depend on the strength of your microwave.
Here is a list of marginally difficult to find ingredients available for purchase on Amazon.com (affiliate links all!):
Hoisin SauceSzechuan PeppercornsWhole Star AniseFennel Seeds(Pssst. You can make THIS DELICIOUSNESS with your extra fennel.)
Brown Rice SyrupRed Beet PowderToasted Sesame OilSriracha Hot Chili Sauce
How about an iPad giveaway?!?
I teamed up with this fabulous group of bloggers to give away an honest to goodness, brand-spankin’ new, glorious 16 GB iPad with Retina Display. My husband and I bought one of these 16 GB iPads with wi-fi for our family last winter. We have it crammed full of educational apps that make homeschooling so much easier. Okay, we also have some news apps and some silly photo filters on there, too, but as a tool for homeschool or other students, it is absolutely invaluable. Our favourite application is the astronomy app ‘Star Walk’. If it’s a clear night, there’s a good chance one of us is outside gazing up at the sky with the iPad in tow figuring out which constellation is where. My eleven year old has turned into a walking, talking, mini Carl Sagan who tells me about the billions and billions of stars in our Cosmos.
How to enter the giveaway:
Update: GIVEAWAY CLOSED!
These fellow bloggers participated in the giveaway as well.
Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by a group of bloggers including me. We paid for the item ourselves and it is not a compensated post. There is an Amazon.com affiliate link for ingredients and another for an iPad in the post. If you choose to purchase any of those ingredients or an iPad after clicking through those links, I receive a small commission from Amazon.com which in no way effects the price of the item. Thank you!