Hey, Yuto here from @sudachi.recipes. Today's recipe is a delicious and hearty dish called Charshudon.
What Is Japanese Braised Pork "Chashu"?
Cantonese Char Siu VS Japanaese Chashu
Japanese Chashu came from Cantonese cuisine originally without a doubt.
However, now there are a few differences between Cantonese Char Siu and Japanese Chashu, or at least Japanese Chashu you see in ramen restaurants.
The biggest difference would be that, while Cantonese Char Siu tends to be barbecued and roasted, the main cooking process of Japanese Chashu is braising.
Also usually Chashu doesn't have barbecue flavour as well.
Pork belly is preferred but other parts and chicken is also used
For Japanese Chashu, the most common meat to use is pork belly block.
- Pork loin
- Pork shoulder
- Chicken breast (鶏チャーシュー)
Chashu Donburi (チャーシュー丼) as side dish in ramen restaurants
So chashu is definitely an iconic feature for ramen.
But what is chashu donburi rice bowl and where is it usually served?
As you can imagine, ramen restaurants make chashu in big batches every single day.
In ramen restaurants, a lot of places offer chashu donburi (chashu served on a bed of white fluffy rice) as side dish and it's another way for them to consume big batches of chashu they make every morning.
Also, chashu donburi is also popular meal prepared for restaurant staff (まかない) as well.
Cooking Process of Ramen Restaurant Style Chashu
Cooking Chashu tends to be a big hassle, but the cooking process is actually quite easy (it just takes a bit of time...)
The ingredients for simple Chashu would be:
- Pork or chicken
- Soy sauce
- Garlic (Optional)
- Spring onion
That's all you need for simple Chashu!
2 Cooking processes
1. Sealing the block of meat
Like when you make roast dishes, sealing the meat beforehand in a frying pan is preferred.
2. Braising in a pot
This braising process is the part that takes a long time, but all you need to do is wait for it to simmer.
Boiled eggs are essential for Chashu donburi
As well as chashu itself, when it comes to chashu donburi, cooking boiled eggs in the same broth is very important.
The broth flavours the eggs and creates a great taste and texture to the dish.
The broth is reusable
So at the end of cooking, you will have a broth from the braising process.
But don't throw it away once you finish making Chashu because it's reusable for many purposes!
A lot of ramen restaurants actually keep using old broth by replenishing.
Obviously, we're not ramen restaurants so we don't have to go that far but you can still use the leftover broth for:
- Another batch of Chashu (Maybe using different meats?)
- Braising boiled eggs
- You can also use this as a condiment instead of soy sauce (More flavour than normal soy sauce!)...etc
So the big batch of broth won't be a waste!
Frequently Asked Questions
What cut of meat is Chashu?
Mostly pork belly but some places use pork shoulder or even chicken breast!
Is Chashu Chinese or Japanese?
There's no doubt that the origin is from Chinese Char Siu. It travelled to Japan, then Japanese people found their own way to cook it.
What do you eat Chashu with?
It's usually served with Ramen but sometimes on rice bowls, some izakayas (Japanese Tapas-style restaurant) serves Chashu on its own as a beer snack.