Ever wondered how the Chashu pork served with ramen is so succulent, tender and delicious? Well, wonder no more! With my recipe you can make ramen restaurant style chashu at home! This chashu will melt in your mouth!
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What Is Japanese Braised Pork "Chashu"?
Chashu is a dish made with fatty pork belly braised or simmered in a soy based sauce. It's most commonly served on top of a bowl of hot ramen. Chashu is fatty and usually slow cooked, this causes the texture to become extremely tender. It's one of the best parts about ramen!
Cantonese Char Siu VS Japanaese Chashu
Japanese chashu originally came from Cantonese cuisine. However, there are a few differences between Cantonese "Char Siu" and Japanese "Chashu", at least with the chashu you see in ramen restaurants.
The biggest difference would be that, while Cantonese Char Siu tends to be barbecued and roasted, Japanese Chashu is braised or simmered.
Also Japanese chashu is commonly glazed with the leftover broth, this creates an effect similar to teriyaki. Cantonese char siu on the other hand, has a bit of a barbeque flavour.
Meat used for Japanese style Chashu
When making Japanese Chashu, the most common meat to use is a block of pork belly. That's not to say it can't be made with other cuts of pork, or even different meat entirely. It can also be made with:
- Pork loin
- Pork shoulder
- Chicken breast (鶏チャーシュー)
Cooking Chashu might seem a bit overwhelming, but the cooking process is actually quite easy and the ingredients are accessible too!
The ingredients for a simple Chashu would be:
That's all you need for simple Chashu!
Cooking process for Chashu
The first step is to pierce both sides of the pork with a fork. This not only helps it absorb all the flavour from the broth we make later, but it also helps break down some of the tendons and proteins which will result in a more tender chashu.
Rolling the pork is optional, it doesn't affect the flavour but it's more for the presentation. You can either use rope or stretchable meat netting.
3. Simmering in broth
Rather than just simmering the pork in water, we add spring onion, ginger, garlic and onion to the pot. This flavours the pork and the liquid becomes a broth that we can later use in the sauce for maximum flavour. This broth can also be used to make the ramen broth!
TIP: I add 1 tsp of rice vinegar when simmering the pork, this helps it become even more tender. 1 tsp is enough, it seems like a tiny amount but we don't want to make the broth sour.
After the pork is cooked and we've made a soy based broth, we use some of the leftover liquid to glaze the pork. The sugars in the liquid caramelize and char slightly, giving a bit of a teriyaki effect. I usually do this step in a frying pan.
When simmering, Japanese people often use a traditional cooking tool called an "otoshibuta" (落し蓋). I use an otoshibuta to make chashu, all you need is some baking parchment or aluminum foil and a pair of scissors!
WHAT IS AN OTOSHIBUTA DROP-LID?
An otoshibuta (落し蓋) is a traditional Japanese cooking tool used for simmering. The word "otoshi" (落し) means to drop, and futa (蓋) becomes "buta" which means lid. The small round lid sits on top the simmering liquid, helping evenly distribute the heat around the food.
When the liquid is bubbling, the drop lid prevents large bubbles by popping them under the weight of the lid. This way, delicate ingredients such as tender meat or flakey fish are less likely to break.
Drop lids are commonly made from wood, but stainless steal and silicone drop lids are also popular. The size of the steel ones can often be adjusted to fit different pans too!
If you don't plan to use a drop lid regularly, I recommend making a single-use one with baking paper or foil. You can learn how on my "How to make Otoshibuta" post here!
Reusing the Broth
So at the end of cooking, you will have some pork broth leftover, which you can use to make ramen broths and soups!
Many ramen restaurants actually keep using old broth by adding new broth and replenishing.
Obviously, we're not ramen restaurants so we don't have to go that far but you can still use the leftover broth. If you don't have an immediate use for it you can also keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for about 3 months.
So the big batch of broth won't go to waste!
Other ways to use chashu
Chashu doesn't only have to be served on ramen, you could also use it to make delicious "Ramen restaurant style fried rice" or "Chashudon" rice bowl!
Enjoy your delicious homemade chashu in a number of ways!
Watch our video for how to make Japanese Pork ChashuPrint
Step by step recipe
Japanese Style Chashu Braised Pork (チャーシュー)
- Total Time: 14 hours 20 mins
- Yield: 6 portions 1x
How to make delicious, tender, melt in the mouth Japanese style Ramen restaurant Chashu Braised Pork (チャーシュー)
- 700g Pork belly
- 50g Spring onion green part
- 50g Fresh ginger
- 3 cloves Garlic
- ½ White onion
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- Roughly cut half an onion and slice 50g of fresh ginger. (It's fine to leave the skin on the ginger, just make sure it's washed before you cut it.)
- Take your pork belly block and pierce both sides with a fork.
- Dry the pork belly with a paper towel and roll. Start with the thinnest side and roll it up, secure with string or meat netting. (See video)
- Place the pork into a deep pot, fill with cold water until the pork is just about submerged. (It's okay if the highest part is slightly poking out the top.)
- Turn the heat on a medium-high setting and bring the water to a boil. If any scum floats on the top, scoop it out.
- Once it's boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and add the spring onion, onion, ginger, garlic and 1 tsp of rice vinegar.
- Place a drop lid on top (see post for how to make your own drop lid) and then allow to simmer on a low heat for 1 hour.
- Once the time has passed, peel back the drop lid, carefully flip the pork over onto the other side and put the drop lid back into position. Simmer for another hour.
- After the time is up, turn off the heat, remove the pork from the broth and place it in a large ziplock bag.
- Scoop 250ml of broth from the pork and pour it into a small pan.
- Add 50ml of sake, 1 tbsp mirin, 150ml soy sauce and 30g sugar to the pan and mix.
- Heat on medium high and bring it to a boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute to burn off the alcohol.
- Turn off the heat and leave it to cool slightly.
- Pour the marinade into the ziplock bag with the pork.
- Seal the ziplock bag and allow to cool completely. Place it upright in the fridge. (You can place the ziplock bag in a tray or bowl to prevent any leaks.)
- Rest the pork in the liquid for 12 hours or overnight.
- Heat a frying pan on a medium-high heat. Once it's hot, add the pork belly to the pan and lightly char the outside. Keep turning the pork to make sure all the edges are evenly charred.
- Set the pork to one side and in the same pan, add 100ml of the chashu marinade in the ziplock bag to the pan.
- Allow the sauce to thicken and place the pork back in.
- Once the pork is glazed with the sauce, remove it from the pan and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the rope or net and then cut the chashu into slices.
- Serve on ramen or on rice as chashu donburi!
Remove the ginger, spring onion and garlic at the end of the simmering time and store leftover pork stock in the fridge for up to 1 week or 1 month in the freezer. You can use it in soups and broths.
You can soak boiled and peeled eggs in the ziplock bag with the leftover broth to make ramen eggs.
The chashu itself can be kept in the fridge for 1 week or 3-4 weeks in the freezer. I recommend slicing it first for convenience.
Rolling the pork belly is for decoration and is optional. You can still make delicious chashu without rolling it. If you don't roll it, reduce the cooking time to 45 mins on each side. (1 hour 30 minutes total)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Marinating Time: 12 hours
- Cook Time: 2 hours 10 mins
- Category: Meat
- Method: Simmering
- Cuisine: Japanese
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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. You can check out my chashu donburi recipe here. There are even some izakayas (Japanese Tapas-style restaurant) that serve Chashu on its own as a beer snack!
Hi, if i use smaller meat, say 250g, will the cooking time be the same or faster?
Thank you for your question. I haven't tried the recipe with a smaller piece of meat but in theory it would cook a bit faster. However this recipe is already a quick chashu (they usually take 3-4 hours at least) so I recommend cooking it for the time stated to ensure it's flavourful. Hope it helps!
Hello, on part 3, what can i do with left over sauce in the bag? It is a lot though, i feel guilty to throw it away. And how can i store it ?
Thank you for trying my recipe and giving a 5 star review!
You can reuse the broth to make ramen eggs, my ramen restaurant style chahan (fried rice) or simply use it again to make another batch of chashu.
You can store it for 3-4 days in the fridge or 3 months in a zip lock bag in the freezer. If you're freezing it, I recommend freezing it in an ice cube tray, you could add it to dishes in small amounts for extra umami.
Hope that helps!