When I was growing up, Chinese barbecue pork was known as char siu. We would eat it as a side dish or as an ingredient in won ton soup. My mom never prepared it, so it was always restaurant made. Well, for some unexplainable reason, I haven’t had it in a few years. Since I had a frozen pork tenderloin that needed to be used, I searched the internet for a char siu recipe. After reading several recipes, I decided to try the one by Recipe Tin Eats.
As you know, one of my goals is to prepare dishes with less sugar. The first five ingredients contain considerable amounts of it. Since I wasn’t using large quantities and they were only used in the marinade (on a large piece of meat), I thought it would be fine. The changes I made to Nagi’s dish were reduction in the amount of honey and elimination of the red food coloring. Even though I cooked a larger piece of tenderloin, not all of the marinade was used. I have to tell you that the meat was so tasty and delicious! My husband, who is my biggest critic, was very happy with this pork dish. You won’t be disappointed!
Healthier Chinese Barbecue Pork
- ¾ tablespoon organic brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon organic honey
- 1½ tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon five spice powder
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon organic canola oil
- Sea salt (optional—since I only have reduced sodium soy sauce at home, you may want to add a pinch)
- Place the marinade ingredients in a small saucepan. Mix together and simmer for 30 seconds. Set aside and cool.
- Place the pork and marinade in a ziplock bag and remove as much air as possible. Rub the sauce into the meat. Refrigerate overnight.
- Take the tenderloin out of the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil. Place roasting rack on top of rimmed pan.
- Put tenderloin on top of rack and set aside the reminder of marinade.
- Roast the meat until the internal temperature reaches 145º, approximately 40 minutes. (Roasting time will vary depending upon the size of tenderloin). Halfway through the cooking time, baste the pork with the sauce.
- After pork reaches 145º, baste the it with remaining marinade, and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is nicely charred and caramelized.
- Let the tenderloin rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
I cannot remember the last time I ordered some really good Kung Pao Chicken. It’s probably been over a year since I even stepped into a Panda Express for some tasty, but not so healthy take-out. I guess it is a natural progression when you start cooking more at home with health in mind.
My inspiration for my dish came from an Epicurious post in July 2013, a recipe by Diana Kuan, author of The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, 2012 Ballantine Books. I used more commonly found ingredients and added the green beans in order to make it a one dish meal. The chicken was tender and slightly spicy and the green beans had a nice crunch to them. I cheated and used organic packaged frozen white rice, but this is optional. Chinese food is one cuisine I cannot eat without a little white rice!
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon dry sherry
- 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 pound chicken breast tenderloins, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons organic high heat canola oil
- 10 dried red chilies
- ½ pound French green beans, cut 1-inch long pieces
- 3 green onions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- ⅓ cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
- Packaged frozen white or brown rice, prepared according to package instructions, (optional)
- Make the marinade using a medium bowl. Stir together soy sauce, sherry, and corn starch, until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add the chicken, toss gently to coat. At room temperate, let stand for 10 minutes.
- Using another bowl, make the sauce. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, corn starch and pepper. Stir, until sugar and cornstarch are combined and dissolved. Set aside.
- Over high heat, heat a wok or large frying pan. The pan is at the right temperature when a bead of water sizzles and evaporates upon contact. Add 1 tablespoon oil and coat the base of wok or pan. Add green beans and stir-fry, until beans are heated through and tender crisp. Transfer beans to a dish and cover to keep warm.
- Heat wok or pan again over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and coat the base of wok or pan. Add chilies, stir-fry for about 30 seconds, until oil is slightly fragrant. Be careful not to burn the chilies. Add the chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the “white” part of green onions, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the green beans. Pour in just enough sauce to coat the ingredients. Mix in the peanuts and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the rest of the green onions. Serve with white rice or healthy brown rice, if desired. 4 servings.