Japanese Cuisine: Char Siu/Chyashyu Basic Recipe

I was going to write on article on Cold Japanese Ramen/Hiyasi Ramen/冷やしラーメン when I realized I would have to introduce one main element first, namely Chyashyu (in Japanese) or Char Siu (in Chinese).

Therefore, here is the basic Japanese-style Char Siu recipe before I can introduce the one on Hiyashi Ramen!


As this is the basic recipe, I will explain the procedure only. I will leave it to you to decide on the exact amounts as priorities are vastly different!

-Pork Belly
-Sesame seeds
-Seven Spices/Shichimi/七味
-Thin leeks
-Large leeks
-Light taste soy sauce
-Japanese sake


Choose a block of pork belly with the right proportion of meat and fat.
Personally, I ctually prefer blocks cut out the thighs or back.

Make a few shallow cuts across the pork and salt it lightly. That step will ensure an even seasoning.

Bink the pork with cooking twine as shown in above picture with the fatty side outside.
Bind it tightly as to effectively shape the pork.

As the char siu has to be boiled first, prpare a large enough pan filled with water.
Drop the meat in the water.
Add just a drop of soy sauce, one clove of garlic, two leaves of laurel, some roughly cut leeks (thick variety), some Japanese sake and bring to boil.

Boil over a strong fire for one hour, scooping unwanted matters from time to time.
Bear in mind the boiling water can be used as soupstock for other dishes!
Once taken out of the pan, let it cool and cut the twine. The meat should hold by itself.
It can be consumed as it is.

The Japanese then grill it (aburi/炙り) for even deeper taste.

They use a special grill called nanarin/七輪 using charcoal.
take care not to overgrill it and bear in mind oil could start flying!

Cut the char siu to the thickness wanted.
I like it very thin and eat it a it is. But when using for ramen, I might cut it a bit thicker.

If you want to it eat and serve it for its own sake, cut many slices and arrange them on a serving dish and season it with seven spices mix/shichimi/七味, sesame seeds (whole or ground), chopped thin leeks, a little ponzu.

Doesn’t that look appetizing!

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