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Recipe Redux Char Siu BBQ Pork – and a giveaway too, for you.

How exciting to get started with the first and only recipe challenge founded by dietitians, The Recipe ReDux.  As the Latin term “redux” means to revisit or reinvent, we are reinventing the idea of healthy eating with a taste-first approach. To kick start the first month challenge the theme befit of a Northern summer is grilling.  And I bet many of my US colleagues were expecting me to throw another shrimp on the barbie.  But it’s seriously cold in Melbourne this winter and there’s no way I’m venturing out on the back deck to fire up the grill, plus I’ve already written a guest post about Aussie style BBQ prawns here.  So instead I wanted to makeover a classic, indoors on my grill pan and share an ultra-clever tip.

Char Siu Pork – free from colours & additives

One of my vivid memories of living in Hong Kong are the vibrant red coloured BBQ pork and duck hanging from every restaurant window.  Sure succulent pork belly or Peking Duck is not everyday fare for a dietitian, but lean Australian pork is.  A healthy source of protein, thiamin, niacin, B6, B12, selenium, riboflavin, zinc, and omega-3, trimmed lean pork has lower saturated fat content than skinless chicken breast. Most basic recipes for Char Siu meat, simply suggest you pick up a commercial jar of marinade.  But I’m more conscious these days of the additives and colours that I feed my family.  Commercial jars contain high fructose corn syrup, thickeners, plus caramel and red colours.  So it was time to start from scratch.  I consulted my treasured copy of Balance & Harmony Asian Food by Australian Chef Neil Perry of Rockpool fame, sifted around the pantry, popped to marvelous Footscray for a couple of extra ingredients and adjusted here and there to bring down the sodium.


Pork loin fillet

Asian vegetables to serve – we love bok choy, snow peas and carrots steamed with slices of fresh ginger.

Rice – we used low GI Basmati because it was in the pantry

Honey for basting


4 tablespoons of fermented bean curd, mashed

4 tablespoons light soy sauce

100mL (3.5 fl oz) shaoxing (cooking rice wine)

4 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons hoisin sauce

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped


Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a stainless steel bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pork and toss with tongs until coated.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2hours.

Cut a piece of baking paper to fit the base of your grill pan.  This is a tip from my friend Lucy Kelly, food editor at Weight Watchers magazine. Baking paper prevents the marinade sticking to your grill pan and a massive wash up task, but still allows the griddle lines to mark and brown the meat. Ingenious!

Preheat pan to medium heat and add the pork loin, curving slightly so the ends do not touch the side of the pan and cook for approximately 30minutes.  Turn every 5-10mins during cooking time as the pork caramelises in places.  During the last 5 minutes, coat the meat with honey using a pastry brush.


We love to use individual small Chinese bowls that hold less than 1 cup of rice each, plenty for an evening meal.

And then we have fun with kid friendly chopsticks (like big tweezers joined at one end) and a communal platter.

It’s a great way to get young children to sit for longer at the table. We always have a giggle and more fun when the chopsticks are pulled out. It’s also a wonderful chance to get kids interested in other cuisines and ready to venture out for a night in Chinatown.  So did I tell you darlings about when Mummy and Daddy used to catch the Star Ferry to work everyday?…..”Oh mum, not again.”


June Recipe ReDux Roundup

Check out all the posts by the ReDux team:

Alexandra Caspero  Alexandra made Grilled Summer Fruit Salad Alysa Bajenaru – Inspired RD  Alyssa from InspiredRD made Grilled Romaine Salad Ann Dunaway Teh – Eat to Nourish, Energize & Flourish!   Grilled Flank Steak with Grilled Corn and Peach Salsa Cindy Brison – Nutrition Know How Chef Pandita Grilled vegetables Danielle Omar – Food Confidence  Grilled Sweet Peppers Diane Welland – EatWellEatClean  Grilled Beet & Onion Salad with Goat Cheese Dr Barb’s Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad – The Nutrition Budgeteer EA Stewart – The Spicy RD  Grilled Polenta Veggie Stacks with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes Emma Stirling – The Scoop on Nutrition  Char Siu BBQ Pork Gretchen – Kumquat  Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewers Jackie Mills- Delicious Diabetes Cooking  Grilled Proscuitto Shrimp with Asian Dipping Sauce Jessica Fishman Levinson – Nutritioulicious  Grilled Salmon Burgers with Cherry Chutney Kat Lynch – Eating The Week  Portobello mushrooms stuffed with spiced couscous Katie Caputo- East Meats West  Succulent Sirloin Kabobs Kristen – Swanky Dietitian  Portabella Mushroom Burgers with Grilled Corn Lisa – Healthful Sense  Grilled Veggie Bean Burgers Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex – Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen  Mushroom Burgers with the Works, Mushroom Cannellini Spread Marie Spano  Italian Grilled Turkey Burgers Nicole Ferring Holovach – Whole Health RD  Grilled eggs Rebecca Scritchfield – MeFirst
Grilled Plantains: A Sweet Summer Side Dish Regan – The Professional Palate  Grilled Eggplant & Two-Tomato Whole-Wheat Piadina Serena – Teaspoon of Spice  Grilled Watermelon Salad

Giveaway – Marion’s Cookbook

To celebrate the launch of the Recipe Redux I have one copy of Marion Grasby’s brand new book, hot off the press for a lucky Aussie reader.  Thanks to Pan Macmillan. Marion was our firm favourite during the first series of Masterchef and Marion: Recipes and Stories from a Hungry Cook brings together her love of food and love of her mother’s home, Thailand.  The photography is simply stunning and the recipes an eclectic mix of Asian stunners and homegrown comforts.  So to be the lucky winner of this covetable book, drop us a comment below.  Perhaps you have a top grilling tip? Or had a memorable Asian meal?  Or loved something about Marion on Masterchef?  The most creative comment wins and will be picked by Marion herself.  Entries open to Australian readers only (it’s heavy on the postage sorry) and comments will be taken up until 5:00pm Monday 27th June EST in Oz. So go for it.

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  • Nice one Em, looking forward to all the REDUX suggestions – what a fab idea. I’m a big fan of pork loin too ( I might even share my specialty recipe one day) Also I LOVE The purple chop sticks! Liam has a yellow set – so good to encourage kids to embrace the WHOLE culture don’t you think? He was greatly praised for his chop stick skills when we were in Japan in January. Arigato gozaimasu!

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  • This looks great! Char Siu is one of our favorites, especially my son! We usually just buy it at our version of Chinatown and I have experimented with my own without great results. I can’t wait to give this a try! Thanks!

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  • So nice to see a homemade version without the red food coloring. Love the kid’s chopsticks, they look like fun 😀

  • Michelle

    Very inspiring Emma – am going to give this a try myself – our kids love ‘red meat’ as they call the char sui. We are taking them to Hong Kong soon (and Singapore and Malaysia) and looking forward to all the food experiences!

  • The paper on the grill is brilliant!! Can’t wait to try. Ironically, when the intense heat of a Southern US summer arrives, I often turn back to my grill pan, rather than an outdoor grill. The oppressive humidity here in Georgia is just too much.

    (And love the mention of the kids’ chopsticks. Aren’t they the best? I purchased a few pair after a recent visit to the CIA in Napa. Took flying all the way across the continent to pick up an inexpensive dinner time novelty!)

    Thanks SO much for participating. Looking so forward to next month’s post!

  • Vee

    Ooh a healthier version of char siu! I grew up in Malaysia eating char siu with rice and cucumbers – i used to ask for seconds and i reckon it’s all in the sauce! (well as a kid it seemed like it..). Not-too-dry pork and yummy sauce..mmmm. Keen to try this recipe, with a few tweaks for my sensitive tummy (low FODMAPS).

  • this looks so flavorful and delicious! the use of the paper on the grill is indeed ingenious… never seen that before. so fun to learn from each other and share recipes each month. look forward to “redux-ing” with you!

  • I love Char Siu Pork loin. Such a delicious flavoured sauce. Looking forward to Marion’s book too! How ironic that the satay sauce that was her downfall on Masterchef has led to a range of great looking Asian sauces! Can’t wait to try some of the recipes in the cookbook!

  • I can just picture you in your sweater creating this dish – now that’s dedication 🙂 Love this unique recipe and that paper tip – brilliant. Will have to get out M’s same animal chopsticks for taste testing!

  • Aurassi

    Thanks Emma, always looking for new ideas as I get stuck in a rute …I rarely use pork so have to try it out .

  • Jenny

    Love the tip with the baking paper Emma. Came up beautifully.

  • Clare

    So excited to see the recipe redux get off the ground and will be sure to tune in each month. As other commented the grill solution is so inventive and a sure fire winner from now on in my house! I am guilty of using bought char sui all the time- but now i am off for a trip to the grocer’s to try your version- so happy to have got my hands on this recipe!I think my mum makes the best satay sauce- which she learnt during her time teaching in Indonesia- but am more than willing to try Marion’s as I am sure it will give mum’s version a run for its money. Loved watching Marion on Masterchef- i love her ingenious pairing of flavours and flare with presentation. She is also studying the degree i long to complete- gastronomy- what a girl after my own heart!

  • oh yum this looks soooo good. I love the baking paper tip – anything to avoid extra cleaning duties! I use a silicon paper that can be reused for a lot of my baking trays (especially when making pizza), but hadn’t thought about using it on a grill pan. I’d love a copy of Marion’s book as I loved so many of the dishes she made on Masterchef.

  • Thanks everyone for the comments. Two hours to go until the giveaway closes, so fingers crossed…it will soon be over to Marion to decide.

  • What an interesting recipe. Are you the only Redux blogger who featured pork? Sure wish there were more hours in the day to try all these amazing recipes 🙂 Can’t wait for next month’s challenge!

  • Baking paper? Ingenious indeed, and less sauce will go to waste. 🙂 Will definitely have to try this recipe soon. And maybe buy some of that fancy chopsticks. 🙂

  • I’ve just heard back from Marion and she has picked a winner. Drum roll please…….it’s Clare! Congrats Clare and thanks to Marion. I’ll send you an email and we’ll arrange delivery of the book so you can get cooking. Thanks too for participating….more gorgeous giveaways soon.

  • Nerida

    Does anyone know where to buy fermented bean curd?

  • Nerida, you can pick up jars of fermented bean curd at most Asian grocers….I shop in Barkly St Footscray.

  • Yum, love Char Siu pork. What a wonderful idea about the baking paper. Thanks!

  • Oh, homemade char siu I LOVE IT!!!!! Dad used to make his own and it is definitely one of my ALL TIME FAVOURITE since childhood. As you would know people eat that with plain rice, but I like to add chopped char siu in fried rice with egg and spring onion or just stir fry with eggs and spring onion as a dish!!! I still eat it all the time in Australia!

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