Char Siu, the beloved Chinese barbecue pork, is a culinary delight known for its tender and flavorful profile. Traditionally cooked over open flames or in a smoker, Char Siu can now be enjoyed with a modern twist – in the air fryer. This Air Fryer Char Siu recipe brings you the same succulent meat with caramelized glaze, but with the added convenience and efficiency of air frying. This recipe will walk you through making delicious Char Siu, whether you’re a seasoned chef or have never attempted Chinese cooking before.
Benefits of Air Fryer Char Siu
Using an air fryer for your Char Siu has its advantages. It produces meat that’s wonderfully tender on the inside while achieving that sought-after caramelized exterior. The air fryer’s quick cooking time and efficient heat circulation also mean you can enjoy your Char Siu in less time compared to traditional cooking methods. Plus, using the air fryer reduces the need for excess oil, resulting in a healthier yet equally delicious version of this classic dish.
Char Siu Marinade:
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
For the Pork:
- 1 pound boneless pork shoulder or pork tenderloin, cut into strips or chunks
For the Glaze:
- 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon warm water (to thin the glaze, if needed)
- Sliced green onions
- Sesame seeds
1. Prepare the Marinade
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. Your Char Siu’s foundation will be a rich and savory sauce made with this.
2. Marinate the Pork
- Place the pork strips or chunks in a resealable plastic bag or a bowl.
- Pour the marinade over the pork, ensuring each piece is coated evenly. Refrigerate the meat for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, with the marinade to fully absorb.
3. Preheat the Air Fryer
- Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for about 5 minutes. This will ensure the air fryer is ready for cooking.
4. Cook the Char Siu
- Place the marinated pork pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Depending on the capacity of your air fryer, you may need to cook the food in stages.
- To ensure that the Char Siu is cooked evenly, it should be cooked for about 10 to 15 minutes. The pork should be cooked through and have a nice caramelized glaze on the surface.
5. Prepare the Glaze
- In a small bowl, mix together the honey or brown sugar and hoisin sauce to create the glaze.
- If the glaze is too thick to drizzle, thin it with 1 tablespoon of warm water and stir until the desired consistency is reached.
6. Glaze and Serve
- Once the Char Siu is cooked, remove it from the air fryer and brush the glaze over each piece, ensuring they are well coated.
- To ensure the glaze sticks to the Char Siu, reheat it in the air fryer for another minute or two.
7. Garnish and Enjoy
- Remove the Char Siu from the air fryer and place it on a serving platter.
- Slice some green onion and scatter some sesame seeds over top for more taste and visual appeal.
Air Fryer Char Siu combines the best of both worlds – the rich, savory flavors of traditional Chinese barbecue and the convenience of modern cooking. With its tender meat and delectable glaze, this dish is sure to become a favorite in your household. The air fryer’s efficiency and ability to create beautifully caramelized exteriors make it an ideal tool for cooking Char Siu. So, whether you’re looking to impress guests or simply want to enjoy a flavorful meal, give this Air Fryer Char Siu recipe a try and relish in the delightful tastes of authentic Chinese cuisine with a contemporary twist.