Happy Halloween! I’m home tonight and I thought I would take this opportunity to update this little blog.
Char siu is a Chinese BBQ pork, usually slow cooked in a sweet and slightly spicey sauce/glaze. I’ve never eaten the real thing, but I remember the red-glazed meat from Chinese restaurants growing up. The inspiration to create a vegan version of char siu comes from my desire to veganize as many Hawaiian staple dishes as possible. Somehow, making these foods here in Los Angeles reminds me of being there…among the apple bananas and sugarcane. I dream a little dream of some day being able to live there part of the time and the other half of the year here in good ol’ LA.
Jackfruit Char Siu
Two 20 oz cans young green jackfruit (in brine)
¼ c unbleached cane sugar
¼ c all natural, humane honey (farmer’s market or straight from the farm is BEST)
¼ c hoisin sauce
¼ c soy sauce
2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
2 tsp white pepper, ground
4 tbsp sesame oil
one head of garlic, cloves peeled and sliced
Open the jackfruit and drain it into a colander. Take each piece of jackfruit and squeeze as much brine out as possible, using your hands. Once the jackfruit is squeezed, go ahead and put it in a slow cooker, with the remaining ingredients. Slow cook your jackfruit on low for at least 4 or so hours, until the jackfruit has darkened and absorbed most of the liquid. You don’t want it to be totally dry, so check on it and give it a stir every now and then and a taste too, if you see fit. *This recipe for char siu will not have the traditional red coloring, as it contains no food coloring.
This recipe can be used to make Manapua (pictured above), Hawaiian version of bao stuffed with char siu or it can be used in other traditional dishes such as Dry Mein (Sam Sato inspired recipe coming soon).