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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lunch: Char Siew Noodles

Char Siew Noodles -- with homemade char siew -- is a relatively new dish that has made it into our lunch menu. I love char siew and I love making my own, even though it is so readily available in Singapore, because it just tastes best fresh out of the oven. Juicy and not dry, with tasty charred bits. Delicious.

I discovered a particularly yummy recipe for char siew at Rasamalaysia.com and this is the recipe I've been basing my char siew on. I've made a few modifications, mainly because I am lazy or could not find ingredients but it still tastes great! It really isn't difficult, though it does require some time because of the time required to marinate the meat. The recipe recommends marinating the meat overnight. I've tried marinating it for 4 hours because I was short of time and it still tasted good, though the colour didn't take as well. You just have to be more diligent about basting the meat.

Anyway, on to the recipe!

Ingredients for Char Siew (Serves 3-4):

500g pork shoulder/pork collar, cut into a long strip1 (ask the butcher for 五花肉)
1/2 tablespoon cooking oil
Char Siew Sauce (see below)

Char Siew Sauce:

1 1/2 tablespoons maltose2
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rose wine3
3 dashes white pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


1. Mix all ingredients in for the char siew sauce in a small sauce pan. Heat and stir till all the ingredients are well mixed. When the mixture starts to boil, turn off the heat and let cool.

2. Marinate the pork meat with 2/3 of the char siew sauce overnight. Add the 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil into the remaining char siew sauce, mix well and keep in the fridge.

3. The next day, preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the pork in a roasting pan and drizzle the marinating liquid over it.

4. When the oven is ready, put the pork in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.

5. Turn the pork over in the roasting pan and drizzle/brush some of the reserved char siew sauce over it. The underside of the meat (that was resting on the surface of the pan) would have been charred in spots by the pan. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.

6. Turn pork over again (if required), and drizzle/brush on some of the reserved char siew sauce. Broil the pork on high heat till it is slightly charred on the surface. This should take 2-3 minutes. Repeat on the other side if necessary.

7. Remove pork from the oven and slice into bite-size pieces. Serve with remaining char siew sauce.


1. You can get the local butcher to cut the pork into a strip - just tell him you're making char siew and ask him to cut up the meat accordingly. If not, you can just cut the pork into 2-3 strips yourself.
2. If you can't find maltose, double the portion of honey. Do try to find the maltose if you can though, because it's a quintessential ingredient of Chinese roast meats and I believe it caramelizes better.
3. I have not been able to find this Chinese Rose Wine and I substituted it for some Chinese cooking wine (Hua Tiao Chiew). However, as the original recipe identifies this as a key ingredient, I have retained its reference in this recipe.

For the Noodles:

Cook each portion of noodles by blanching them in boilling water till cooked, but yet firm. This takes about 3-5 minutes. Remove with a wire mesh strainer and transfer immediately into a bowl of cold water. Shake to loosen and rinse, transfer the noodles back into the boiling water for about 10 seconds  before transferring onto individual serving plates.

For tossing with the noodles, for each portion, I like to mix:
1-2 teaspoons of fried shallot oil
1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
1 teaspoon of light soya sauce
1/2 teaspoon of sweet dark soya sauce
ketchup/chilli oil to taste

I went by feel for this so do go ahead and experiment with your own mix!

Noey spontaneously giving me the thumbs up the first time I made this dish. That's how much he likes his lunch!


  1. :) I was inpsired by your tweet to make wanton noodles! had to google for the proportions of the sauce as I wasn't sure. I think adding shallot oil will totally add the "missing" flavour I was looking for!!

    1. that's great! sorry, no space in twitter to put down the proportions. how did it turn out?

    2. looks yum, and I love the pic of Noey enjoying his noodles! what brand of noodles do you use? Vivien

    3. hi vivien, i like the noodles by fortune. comes in a green packet.

  2. Wah I'm so hungry & it looks so tasty!! Wish I have a natural talent in the kitchen too haha

  3. thanks for the recipe! its a shame that I don't have a oven though. hahaha



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