Thursday, November 22, 2007

Crispy Roasted Pork (ShaoRou)


It's been a porky week. With tonight's crispy roasted pork, Wey declared fatty pork makes him sick. He asked for a panadol, because whenever he gets queasy from eating fatty pork, he'd get a headache. He only told me tonight that he threw up after eating a lot of meicai kourou the other day. I am ecstatic! He's finally off fatty pork. "Not for long, mom," he tells me as he caught me writing this.

I've never made shaorou before but I've tasted home-made shaorou made by a friend. While it was very good, I wasn't totally impressed with the skin because it was hard crispy instead of light crispy, you know what I mean. I decided I'd experiment 2 ways: 1. my Dad's way, when he made meicai kourou, which is to boil the pork skin-side down in water for a couple of minutes (I boiled for 7 min), then prick the skin brutally with a fork. For Dad's meicai kourou, the boiled pork skin would be smeared with dark soy sauce and deep-fried until the skin is all bubbled and crispy 2. just roast it like my friend did, except I'd rub the skin with some vinegar, a tip I've heard of.

So I bought a medium slab of belly pork and boiled one side and left the other side alone.


This is the result:


Which side came up best?? I should've known. Can you imagine the amount of work if people had to stab and scar all the pork skin of the shaorou they make to sell?

The boiled portion (left side in the pics above and below, the middle left portion did not crisp) was crunchy-hard, it crackled so loud I could hear the crackling crackle in my brains as I gnawed on it. The unboiled portion (right side, all puffed up) was incredibly crispy and light - it is still crisp as I write this post, 6 hours later!

(The strip of shaorou in the middle corresponds diagonally to the slab at the back and you can see that the unboiled skin is puffier, while the boiled skin is thinner and unpuffed)

Crispy Roasted Pork (Shaorou)

1.7 kg slab of belly pork*, cleaned
2 1/2 T coarse salt
1/2 to 3/4 t 5-spice powder, depending on your liking
3 T natural white vinegar

optional: 2-3 pieces of nam yue (red fermented bean curd)

* choosing the perfect slab of belly pork is very important. It can't be too fatty or lean, and the skin must be of a desirable thickness.

1. Smear 1 T vinegar all over the skin, leave the slab of pork skin-side up an hour or two (or put in the middle section of your fridge overnight, uncovered, if you can wait) so the skin'll dry.

2. Switch oven on to 200 C. Take pork out, turn over and rub half the salt and all the 5-spice powder on meatside/underside evenly. Rub the nam yue on too if using. Turn over so skin-side is up. Rub 2 T vinegar all over the skin, then rub remaining salt over and place the pork on the wire rack of the oven. Put a tray under the rack to catch any drips and fill the tray with water so the drips won't smoke up your oven.

3. Bake without opening the oven for 1 1/4 hours (add 20 to 30 min longer if the pork is very thick; mine was not). Put the rack (use mitts!) higher up to grill the skin and increase the temp to 220 C for another 15 minutes.

When I sliced into the pork, I could hear the skin cr-cr-crunch! (doing a Zain here. Shan would know what I mean.) This is almost as good as the shaorou from our favorite shaorou guy at Merdeka Supermarket. Well, maybe I'm biased but I did say almost.

p.s. Wey has recovered. It's 11pm and he just ate a whole chunk of the shaoruo and said he rates it 10/10, with dark soy sauce, 9.5/10 without! I take his rating very seriously, because he has very sharp tastebuds and nose. Yay, sons are sweet sometimes!

Note: I've found out that crispy roasted pork should be well-roasted until the crackling is burnt. Just scrape off the burnt surface and there'll still be nice brown crackling underneath.


jimctang said...

do you run restaurant please ?

Denise said...

(a) CAN U Feed Wey some vege?!
(b) He's eating roasted pork at 11PM?! ANd u cutting pork at wee hours ? Wow... this family is amazing....

hahahahahha POOR WEY!
But I know he doesnt care! Should I say "Pork RocKs" here?? *Giggle*
Hey, yes! I agree with u, my Dad alwys claims that Merdeka Supermarket lido there sells the best Roasted Pork in town ! But, May be I can ask my dad detour to Tmn Cantek already ;p

Precious Pea said...

Wow!! From the look of it, can already imagine how crispy the skin and succulent the meat. Well done! Yah, when are you running a restaurant?

Precious Pea said...

Wow!! From the look of it, can already imagine how crispy the skin and succulent the meat. Well done! Yah, when are you running a restaurant?

raina said...

Looks so good and I can actually 'smell' it. You amaze me.

Shan said...

OMG Terri you're killing me here. There is a puddle of drool by my feet as I type this.
But great timing, I just received a Equatorial porky lunch invite. Can't beat home cooking but it's a decent substitute :D

Anonymous said...

muffinman: i'll definitely try your recipe. family loves shaorou. i made once, but the skin was tough like rubber. had to discard the skin coz it was not edible at all and my mum said don't waste time in making it, just go to merdeka supermaket to buy it. so, hopefully this will work. will let u know

b said...

mouthwatering! I'm amused how you integrate 'scientific experiments' into your cooking.

WoMbOk™♂ said...

. . . .
. . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . . .


(can't talk now.. mouth is drooling..)

Anonymous said...

muffinman: was going through your recipe, step 1, do i need to put the pork (after it has been smeared with vinegar) into the oven for one or two hours to dry the skin?

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

jimctang: only at home n i don't get paid :(

denise: a) just did, n i quoted ur advice n he ate more veg than usual.
b)to us 11 pm is not wee's holidays for the kids lah, denise!

u r now our friend n ur name is a hsehold name here :)haha, detour n see if u get the right hse!

precious pea: hub always tells me i can't run a business - i'm too concerned with quality n give away more than i charge...but u can come eat if u r in toen :)

raina! the return of raina! i missed u!

shan: u porky person too :0

b: bored hsewife bah, nothing better to do...

wombok: run over to nee's!

muffinman: no, not in oven. leave it out, say on ur kitchen counter (use fly cover) or even in fridge to dry skin. tell me how it turned out :D

Pinky said...

My mum (the kitchen goddess) used to cook this. It's a lot... of work. I really respect your ability to cook such good food and take even better pictures. Tabik!

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

pinky: thank u. but hey, shaurou is really easy to cook. it's like baking a chicken, dust dump it in the oven. i've been to ur blog n i am impressed a young girl like u is into nature. keep it up, we need more young ppl like u!

Precious Pea said...

You mean I can order what i want?? Gosh..can I stay with you for one month then? Hahaha...*blush* self-invite pulak.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

preciouspea: provided u bring ur dogs, yes, yes.

Anonymous said...

muffinman: finally tried this was incredible. I need more practise on it to perfect it. I did not have any coarse salt, so i used refined iodised salt instead. it was a bit too salty. some parts of the skin still did not puff up but that was only a small part. what makes the skin light and crispy: the coarse salt or vinegar?

overall i was very happy with the results. my dad and hubby loves it. will definitely try it again until it becomes perfect...hehehe. thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

Anonymous said...

muffinman: i've tried this recipe 4 or 5 times now, but everytime i worry that the skin will not puff.
was wondering what makes the skin puff, the vinegar, salt of the heat? sometimes my shaorou's skin will puff, sometimes it does not. sometimes it does not puff all. your shaorou really looks like the show's...everytime i make mine, i have to pray that it turns out good. please help

Simply June said...

I just had to write to you right away! Just made the roast pork per your recipe, except I pricked the skin. And because my oven is slightly different, I had to "grill" the skin a little differently....... The result: Crispy Goodness!!!

I no longer need to hunt down good roast pork! I can make my own plus the smokey kitchen!! It's hard to find good roast pork outside Malaysia. The best roast pork I had outside Malaysia was in London Chinatown. I've been hunting for good roast pork in the US (Boston specifically) and usually end up with those crispy hard skin that are impossible to chew on. And most of the time the restaurants are not consistent with their roast pork. When I thought they had the perfect skin, my next visit is always a disappointment.

Thank you so much so this recipe and many more!!I enjoy reading your blog and trying out your recipes!!

Western Dental said...

that looks absolutely delicious!

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