Recipe: Sous Vide Char Siu

  By Jack Lawson    

October 6, 2022

Char siu is a traditional chinese dish that excels in a sweet and savoury combination of spices. Interestingly, char siu may have originally been the name of the marinade not necessarily the dish itself. These days char siu is thought of as primarily a pork belly dish. However, the glaze is multi-faceted and could easily be applied to poultry or beef short ribs in a similar way.



  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 16 hrs 15 mins
  • Yields: 4 servings


For the Char Siu

1 lb porky belly, sliced lengthwise

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

2 tbsp hoisin

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce1/2 tbsp honey

1/2 tsp five-spice powder

1/2 tsp sesame seed oil

3 drops red food coloring

For the Glaze

2 pieces chinese fermented red bean curd

1 tbsp maltose

1 tbsp shaoxing wine

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1/4 tsp white pepper

1 tbsp sugar

To Pair

4-6 oz Chinese or North American Broccoli

2 cups steamed Jasmine rice for serving

3 spring onions, sliced into rounds for garnish


For the Sauce

1Combine the sliced garlic, hoisin, soy sauce, honey, five-spice powder, sesame seed oil, and red food coloring in a bowl. Whisk well.

2Pat the pork belly dry with a paper towel and combine with the marinade in a vacuum sealable bag.

3As always, we recommend refrigerating for between 8 hours and over night - however if you're hungry feel free to skip this step.

4At this point, you can also prepare the glaze - although this can also be done right before serving.

5To make the glaze finely dice 2 pieces of Chinese fermented bean curd and combine in a mixing bowl with the maltose, oyster sauce, and shaoxing wine. Using a whisk beat in the white pepper and sugar until dissolved and set aside.

To Cook

1Begin by heating your water bath to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, or 70 degrees Celsius.

2Once at temperature gently submerge you marinated pork.

3Cook for 16 hours for best results - remember this is a fatty, belly cut and needs ample time to break down.

4With an hour left on the clock begin preparing your sides. For this kind of meal we suggest steaming some Chinese or North American broccoli, 2 cups of jasmine rice, and 3 spring onions cut into rounds to garnish.

5When the char siu is finished removed from the water bath and pat dry.

6Set your broiler to high and transfer the pork to a foil lined baking sheet. Generously brush with 1/2 of the glaze.

7Broil for 5 minutes, re-glaze with the other 1/2, and broil for another 5 minutes.

8Remove from the over and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

9Finally, slice the pork belly in 1/4 inch pieces and serve with a side of jasmine rice, broccoli, and garnish with green onion.

Char siu is a wonderful dish, and a Chinese classic. For this recipe we've paired the pork belly with simple fare like rice and broccoli. However, these simple dishes can be easily elevated through making garlic broccoli or egg fried rice instead.

Depending on where you live the fermented red bean curd may be hard to find. If so you can replace with miso, Korean Gochujang, or even hoisin sauce in a pinch. With that said, if you can find fermented red bean paste we absolutely recommend using it instead. Other than the flavour, it will also help impart that vibrant red color we're looking for (with a little help from our red food coloring).

Photo credit: Slawomir Fajer/Shutterstock


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