• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Fat Guy

Making Hong Kong-Style Roast Meats at Home

19 posts in this topic

I've been completely dissatisfied with the roast pork and related roasted meat items from the Chinese restaurants in my neighborhood, and I refuse to believe that my only choice is to get this stuff in Chinatown. In addition, given how cheap pork is in supermarkets it seems logical that I should be able to make pounds and pounds of the stuff for the price of one small portion in a restaurant. So what's the basic procedure for making, say, that nice red roast pork at home? What cut of pork is used, what do you need to do to it before cooking, and how do you cook it? Please assume zero knowledge on my part (always the case).


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cocking an ear, here.....I can get it a relatively-local store (20 minute drive) but I agree...it's do-able.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a recipe for Cantonese Roast Pork in The Chinese Cookbook by Craig Claiborne and Virginia Lee (1972; Lippincott; ISBN unknown). This one calls for "lean loin of pork or other boneless cut." But I think that might make it too dry. The marinade looks pretty tasty, though.

The Hong Kong Cookbook by Arthur Lem and Dan Morris (1970, Funk & Wagnalls) uses boneless pork butt, and has a better method -- hanging the meat in the oven over a pan of water -- but the flavorings will probably NOT give you a superior product.

I've probably got more recipes in other books and in files; let me know if you want them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm interested in understanding the process, particularly what gives this type of pork its unique texture, crust, and sweetness.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Virginia Lee recipe has a multi-step coating process: first you marinate the meat in a mixture of alcohol (she uses bourbon, cognac, or rum, because at the time "the Chinese counterpart" -- shao hsing? -- was not available here), light soy sauce, sugar, 5-spice, and salt. Then before cooking it you coat it with a mixture of "red bean curd sauce," bean sauce, light soy, sugar and sesame paste. While it's cooking you brush it with dark soy. Finally, after it's cooked you dip-and-dry several times with light and dark soys, sugar, and corn syrup or honey. That explains the crust and sweetness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds elaborate. I wonder if there is a minimalist approach that gets 99% of the result with 25% of the effort.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sounds elaborate. I wonder if there is a minimalist approach that gets 99% of the result with 25% of the effort.

Ken Hom has a fairly simple recipe in his book, Easy Family Recipes from a Chinese-American Childhood.

He cuts boned pork shoulder into strips about 1" wide, and makes shallow diagonal cuts into the meat for the marinade to penetrate. The pork is marinated overnight in a mixture of salt, black pepper, 5 spice powder, soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, hoisin sauce, bean sauce and sugar and then roasted on a rack over a pan filled with a little water in a fairly hot oven, basting to start. After 30 minutes you turn the heat down to medium, and baste again with a little honey and the rest of the marinade, and roast again for another 30 minutes or so.

Other recipes I've seen coat the pork with honey after marinating it and then broil it on a rack over a pan filled with a little water, for about 10 minutes per side, basting halfway through. Some recipes use pork loin, but I think shoulder is probably better, being juicier. Another recipe uses gin or Mei Kuei Lu Chiew instead of the Shaoxing wine, and also adds oyster sauce, and a little red preserved bean curd (comes in jars) to the marinade.

Apparently the barbecued pork (char siu) hanging in the windows is colored with red vegetable dye.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think my mum uses either shoulder or leg for char siu at home... marinades it in bbq (hoison?) sauce and other goodies. not loin - it would be too lean.

for some of the other ones I suspect oven temp is also an issue - domestic ovens just don't get hot enough.

J


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The choice of spices is flexible -- any combination of star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, licorice, nutmeg and Sichuan peppercorns, but star anise and cinnamon are pretty much always included.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I just read that you can go into a Chinese herb shop and ask the herbalist for a package of 5-spice seasoning made up to your specs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's sort of like how at the Imperial Herbal Restaurant in Singapore we had to be examined by the herbalist before we ordered our meal so that he could prescribe the appropriate spices and dishes for us. Which reminds me I still have a prescription I need to get filled.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What did they feed you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was just normal Chinese food. The herbs and dish choices didn't really seem to make a difference. There were some people being served things like deer-penis soup (including Westerners, so it wasn't a discrimination thing), but I guess our requirements were less elaborate.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It should probably be called "choose any five out of eight spice powder" then.

The "5-spice" we made at Match (Gary Robins) had 7 components: Star anise, fennel seed, cinnamon, coriander, black peppercorns, allspice, and cloves. If you buy pre-made, Vann's is pretty good, but quite different: ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, pepper, thyme, and star anise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mai Leung has a nice recipe in Dim Sum and Other Chinese Street Food (called The Chinese People's Cookbook in hardcover, probably now out of print). She marinates, then puts the pork strips on skewers right on the oven rack over a water-filled roasting pan, roasts at 500 degrees for 15 minutes, turns heat down to 450 for 15 minutes, and then brushes the pork strips with a simple glaze of honey, thin soy and sesame oil, and returns pork to oven for 1 minute.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does Ed or any of the other newer eGulleters, have any experiences making Cantonese roast pork, & want to comment about it on this thread?

--------------

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By Dejah
      [Host's note: This topic forms part of an extended discussion which grew too large for our servers to handle efficiently.  The conversation continues from here.]
       
       
      Supper: Yeem Gok Gai:

      Mock Fried Rice - grated cauliflower

      Baby Shanghai Bok Choy and ginger

    • By liuzhou
      eG member @Carolyn Phillips has just published her ten-year-long-gestated Chinese cook book, All Under Heaven. 500 pages on China's 35 cuisines. Gathering rave reviews. I've ordered my copy. Can't wait.

      Simultaneously, her "Dim Sum Field Guide is published.
       
      She hasn't posted much here recently, but who would or could while writing two books at the same time - one of them a huge tome?

      Congratulations Carolyn.

       
    • By liuzhou
      A few weeks ago I bought a copy of this cookbook which is a best-selling spin off from the highly successful television series by China Central Television - A Bite of China as discussed on this thread.   .
       

       
      The book was published in August 2013 and is by Chen Zhitian (陈志田 - chén zhì tián). It is only available in Chinese (so far). 
       
      There are a number of books related to the television series but this is the only one which seems to be legitimate. It certainly has the high production standards of the television show. Beautifully photographed and with (relatively) clear details in the recipes.
       
      Here is a sample page.
       

       
      Unlike in most western cookbooks, recipes are not listed by main ingredient. They are set out in six vaguely defined chapters. So, if you are looking for a duck dish, for example, you'll have to go through the whole contents list. I've never seen an index in any Chinese book on any subject. 
       
      In order to demonstrate the breadth of recipes in the book and perhaps to be of interest to forum members who want to know what is in a popular Chinese recipe book, I have sort of translated the contents list - 187 recipes.
       
      This is always problematic. Very often Chinese dishes are very cryptically named. This list contains some literal translations. For some dishes I have totally ignored the given name and given a brief description instead. Any Chinese in the list refers to place names. Some dishes I have left with literal translations of their cryptic names, just for amusement value.
       
      I am not happy with some of the "translations" and will work on improving them. I am also certain there are errors in there, too.
       
      Back in 2008, the Chinese government issued a list of official dish translations for the Beijing Olympics. It is full of weird translations and total errors, too. Interestingly, few of the dishes in the book are on that list.
       
      Anyway, for what it is worth, the book's content list is here (Word document) or here (PDF file). If anyone is interested in more information on a dish, please ask. For copyright reasons, I can't reproduce the dishes here exactly, but can certainly describe them.
       
      Another problem is that many Chinese recipes are vague in the extreme. I'm not one to slavishly follow instructions, but saying "enough meat" in a recipe is not very helpful. This book gives details (by weight) for the main ingredients, but goes vague on most  condiments.
       
      For example, the first dish (Dezhou Braised Chicken), calls for precisely 1500g of chicken, 50g dried mushroom, 20g sliced ginger and 10g of scallion. It then lists cassia bark, caoguo, unspecified herbs, Chinese cardamom, fennel seed, star anise, salt, sodium bicarbonate and cooking wine without suggesting any quantities. It then goes back to ask for 35g of maltose syrup, a soupçon of cloves, and "the correct quantity" of soy sauce.
       
      Cooking instructions can be equally vague. "Cook until cooked".
       
      A Bite of China - 舌尖上的中国- ISBN 978-7-5113-3940-9 
    • By liuzhou
      Introduction
       
      I spent the weekend in western Hunan reuniting with 36 people I worked with for two years starting 20 years ago. All but one, 龙丽花 lóng lì huā, I hadn’t seen for 17 years.  I last saw her ten years ago. One other, 舒晶 shū jīng, with whom I have kept constant contact but not actually seen, helped me organise the visit in secret. No one else knew I was coming. In fact, I had told Long Lihua that I couldn’t come. Most didn’t even know I am still in China.
       
      I arrived at my local station around 00:20 in order to catch the 1:00 train northwards travelling overnight to Hunan, with an advertised arrival time of 9:15 am. Shu Jing was to meet me.
       
      When I arrived at the station, armed with my sleeper ticket, I found that the train was running 5 hours late! Station staff advised that I change my ticket for a different train, which I did. The problem was that there were no sleeper tickets available on the new train. All I could get was a seat. I had no choice, really. They refunded the difference and gave me my new ticket.
       
       

       

       
      The second train was only 1½ hours late, then I had a miserable night, unable to sleep and very uncomfortable. Somehow the train managed to make up for the late start and we arrived on time. I was met as planned and we hopped into a taxi to the hotel where I was to stay and where the reunion was to take place.
       
      They had set up a reception desk in the hotel lobby and around half of the people I had come to see were there. When I walked in there was this moment of confusion, stunned silence, then the friend I had lied to about not coming ran towards me and threw herself into my arms with tears running down her face and across her smile. It was the best welcome I’ve ever had. Then the others also welcomed me less physically, but no less warmly. They were around 20 years old when I met them; now they are verging on, or already are, 40, though few of them look it. Long Lihua is the one on the far right.
       

       
      Throughout the morning people arrived in trickles as their trains or buses got in from all over China. One woman had come all the way from the USA. We sat around chatting, reminiscing and eating water melon until finally it was time for lunch.
       

       
      Lunch we had in the hotel dining room. By that time, the group had swelled to enough to require three banqueting tables.
       
      Western Hunan, known as 湘西 xiāng xī, where I was and where I lived for two years - twenty years ago, is a wild mountainous area full of rivers. It was one of the last areas “liberated” by Mao’s communists and was largely lawless until relatively recently. It has spectacular scenery.
       
      Hunan is known for its spicy food, but Xiangxi is the hottest. I always know when I am back in Hunan. I just look out the train window and see every flat surface covered in chilis drying in the sun. Station platforms, school playgrounds, the main road from the village to the nearest town are all strewn with chillis.
       

       

       
      The people there consider Sichuan to be full of chilli wimps. I love it. When I left Hunan I missed the food so much. So I was looking forward to this. It did not disappoint.
       
      So Saturday lunch in next post.
    • By liuzhou
      I was recently asked by a friend to give a talk to a group of around 30 first-year students in a local college - all girls. The students were allowed to present me with a range of topics to choose from. To my joy, No. 1 was food! They wanted to know what is different between western and Chinese food. Big topic!
       
      Anyway I did my best to explain, illustrate etc. I even gave each student a home made Scotch egg! Which amused them immensely.

      Later, my friend asked each of them to write out (in English) a recipe for their favourite Chinese dish. She has passed these on to me with permission to use them as I wish. I will post a few of the better / more interesting ones over the next few days.

      I have not edited their language, so please be tolerant and remember that for many of these students, English is their third or fourth language. Chinese isn't even their first!

      I have obscured some personal details.

      First up:

      Tomato, egg noodles.

      Time: 10 minutes
       
      Yield: 1 serving

      For the noodle:

      1 tomato
      2 egg
      5 spring onions

      For the sauce:
       
      1 teaspoon sesame oil
      1 tablespoon sugar
      ½ teaspoon salt

      Method:

      1. The pot boil water. At that same time you can do something else.

      2. Diced tomato. Egg into the bowl. add salt and sugar mixed. Onion cut section.

      3. Boiled noodles with water and cook for about 5 minutes.

      4. Heat wok put oil, add eggs, stir fry until cooked. Another pot, garlic stir fry the tomato.

      5. add some water to boil, add salt, soy sauce, add egg
       
      6. The tomato and egg sauce over noodle, spring onion sprinkled even better.
       


      More soon.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.