Saturday, 26 January 2013

Fuss Free CNY Recipes with AMC Cookware : Char Siu

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Continuing our series on CNY recipes using AMC Cookware, here's a big time favourite dish in my family - Char Siu, sometimes referred to as BBQ Pork (a term which I honestly think is a misnomer)
Who doesn't love Char Siu right? I'm glad to say that I cook this pretty well; hubby and I always joke that if we ever decide to migrate and ended up jobless in the foreign land, I'd start a Roast Meat/Char Siu takeaway home business and we will survive LOL!


Prior to this, I have experimented with various ways to cook the best char siu - with that perfect balance of caramelised charred-ness and succulent meat.  I tried baking it in the oven, but it turned out rather dry and tough; and it was tricky trying to control the burning of the edges - I want caramelised charred-ness, not burnt bitter bits. 

I also do not fancy having to keep opening the oven to brush the meat with the marinade.  It causes the oven temperature to fluctuate and my face ended up half cooked.  
I tried just straight braising - well, that became stewed sweetened pork.  A world of difference from char siu.
I even tried pressure cooking it to save time (because it takes almost an hour on normal gas stove), but then I'd have to transfer it later to a wok to char it.  And I have to wash the bulky pressure cooker and the wok.  Hrrrumph.
After all these botched experiments, I finally found the best way - first, sear the meat on some hot oil in a non-stick wok, then braise it for about 45min to 1 hour (I like my meat super tender), and finally in the last 10 minutes, charring it with the lid off. 
Whilst the meat is done to perfection, I am "done" too.  I would look like I just came out of the sauna, cheeks beautifully flushed, and sweating like, well, like I'd just came out of the sauna!  I have a separate wet kitchen which I would normally close the door so that the frying smell would not permeat the entire house.  The stove would be splattered with oil and the wok looked like it's ready to be discarded.  My hubby would then pop his head into the enclosed wet kitchen and (not)tactfully exclaimed "My goodness, how hot is it in here!"
Grrrrr...the things we do for the ones we love.
Needless to say, when I got to test the AMC Premium System, I couldn't wait to test this char siu recipe, to see if it can be removed from my list of "Top 3 Messiest and Oiliest Dishes To Cook".
The AMC completely took the sweat out of this. 

Just like the Roast Pork test, it slashed the cooking time by half, leave my kitchen stove and countertop sparkling clean, gave me a beautiful piece of succulent meat, and best of all, I have the peace of mind that the food has been cooked with completely safe cookware.   

I always have this unshakeable, subtle sense of discomfort whenever I use non-stick cookware (irrespective of how expensive they cost) due to the potential health hazards.  

Whilst the food turns out fine and yummy, and I do not have to deal with any post-cooking burnt crust, I am always besetted by niggling doubts that there could be leachate of non-stick carcinogens, due to the high heat of cooking and gradual peeling off of the non-stick coating.  I know of people who are still using their non stick wok even though it is technically not "non-sticking" anymore! Scary.

I learned that AMC Cookware is made from 100% pure, surgical grade stainless steel, manufactured from its certified production facilities in Italy and Germany.  It is not 3 ply or 5 ply or even 7 ply, it is ONE entire layer of solid stainless steel.  The real stuff.  Not those that are top and bottom coated stainless steel, with a middle layer of chrome (which they never tell you; like majority of the stainless steel cookware in the market).  

As such, AMC Cookware is completely safe for healthy cooking.   In fact, cancer patients or those who have recovered from cancer are one of the biggest group of AMC users, purely because it is a safe range of cookware that has no hazardous leachate during cooking.

Righto, enough of technical talk.  Let's find out how to cook the perfect char siu without smoking your whole kitchen or even your house. 

Char Siu with AMC Cookware     

  • 500g pork belly, rind removed.  Buy a single whole strip of pork belly, not the chunky cut ones
  • 5 tbspn white castor sugar
  • 4 tbspn good soy sauce - I use Popo light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 heap tsp white pepper
  • Sprinkling of five spice powder
1. Rinse the pork belly and pat very dry with kitchen towel.  Cut the meat into half (ie two shorter pieces) and add all the marinade ingredients. Coat well.  Marinade overnight, up to 2 nights.  The next morning, turn the pieces to the other side and continue to marinade until time of cooking. 
2. Add the meat, the marinade and 3-4 tbspn of water into the AMC 24cm roaster pan.  No oil is needed.  
Place the roaster pan on the Navigenio hotplate
The lid can be slotted in nicely between the handle of the roaster plan. 
Quite clever isn't it.
Just place the meat and marinade into the pan. 
No need to sear.  No oil is added.
3.  Set the Audiotherm (the heat monitor and alarm) to 10minutes (approximate time to cook the meat until super tender) and attached it to the Visiotherm (the lid knob). 
4.  Turn the Audiotherm to the "carrot" symbol (meaning the point where the meat starts to be cooked), it will then automatically "lock in" with the Visiotherm.  Turn the Navigenio hotplate to #4 heat.  The cooking process starts now.
Attach the Audiotherm to the Visiotherm knob - set to 10min and "carrot"
Now you can relax, make yourself a cuppa tea and catch up on your newspaper.
Really :)
The Audiotherm will monitor the cooking process.
5. When the heat has reached "carrot" point, the Audiotherm will beep to inform you that the 10minutes counting time is starting from now. 

The meat is starting to be cooked ie "carrot" point
During the 10minutes, the heat continues to build up to boiling point 
6.  After 5 minutes, open the cover and gently turn the meat to the other side.
The meat is tender, the gravy has thickened, oil is oozing out,
and the sugar is starting to caramelise.
8. The Audiotherm beeps again. The 10min time is up. It's time to char the meat. 
9. Remove the pan from the Navi hotplate, place the pan on a coaster; or better still, just put it ontop of the pan's lid; and turn the Navi upside down, and place it ontop of the pan to grill the meat for 3 minutes on each side.  
How cool is this - the lid of the roaster pan double up as a coaster for the pan to sit on top.
It balances perfectly.  Super handy when you can't reach for a big coaster.
As you use the AMC Cookware, you will discover many intelligent design features.
10. Once the 3min is up, remove the Navi (it will automatically switched off), place the meat onto a serving plate and let it rest for about 5min.  Use a pair of meat scissors to snip the meat into bite size pieces and serve immediately.

Beautifully grilled

No burnt bottom.  Just wipe with kitchen towel and wash as normal.  Easy.

Remember we didn't add any oil to cook this?

Oil that has oozed out from the meat.  That's 3 tablespoon of cholesterol we do not need. 
Of course, if you like to live dangerously, that's another story...:P 


Total time taken to cook this with regular non-stick wok : 50min to 1 hour
Total washing up : the stove, the backsplash, surrounding countertop, the wok. (and myself).
Taste and flavour of the meat : Perfect

Total time taken to cook this with AMC Premium System: 20min.
Total washing up : one pan and wipe the Navi hotplate.
Taste and flavour of the meat : Perfect

Which method would you choose?  :)

For more information on AMC Cookware, catalogue and prices, please click HERE 

I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover.


  1. Wow Esther! First roast pork belly, now Char Siew!!!! What's next?

    All my favourites!!! I'm sold! How much does this gadget cost?

    1. So tempting arent they? Once you use them, you wont be using your gas stove much, i guarantee you haha. Can you email me your email address? I will send you some prices info. My email is

  2. Nice! nice! nice!

  3. Woohoo! This looks perfect.. melt-in-the-mouth kind :)

  4. Wow mouthwatering! This is making my stomach growl.

    1. I am sure you can make a mean plate of char siu too, Mich :)

  5. i LOVE char siu! i'm drooling over your pics *slurp*

  6. This looks fantastic, wow! I have to be honest, I've never heard of char sly (shame on me) but I'm so happy to get acquainted! :) Thanks Esther!

    1. No problems Chris. If there is a Chinatown in your city, you are bound to see lots of char siu (BBQ pork) in chinese restaurants, hanging on hooks at the roast meat section.

  7. Hi Esther, no reason not to cook with these wonderful pot. So tempting - both the pot and the Char Siu, hehehe!

    1. Kimmy, get the pot and you will have the char siu :)

  8. Replies
    1. Oopsss so sorry Adeline, i accidentally deleted your comment, very blur :p

  9. very nice char siu! so the hot plate can also act as a griller if to be placed on top?

    1. Hi Lena, yes, the hotplate doubles up as a griller when turn upside down.

  10. Hi Esther,

    Amazing.. but instead of turining upside down, can we juz flip the meat manually ?


    1. Hi Ling, yes you certainly can just flip it manually, but then it will take a longer time as the heat keeps escaping, there may be some grease splatter, and you have to stand there to do it, hot mah! Why not just turn the hotplate upside down and grill it. Much faster, no splatter and you can go and do something else during that time.

  11. Hi Esther,

    Thanks ! Its good for those with small kitchen too.

    Btw, the hot plate is it something like an induction cooker ?

    I understand that the old version of AMC couldnt use on an induction cooker, how about this premium ones.

    Thanks !!


    1. Hi Ling, yes it is great for small kitchens as everything can double up as something else! The hotplate technology is much safer than induction as induction works on a magnetic field surrounding the induction cooker, which has health hazards. The current range (M30) and the previous range (M29) of amc cookware can be used on induction cooker, but not the 1st generation (ie the M28 range).

  12. Esther, there must be legions of people knocking on your door to get their hands on the AMC cookware hah! hah! Char siew and siew yoke are among my top favourite foods. Let me check with my accountant if he approves of me buying the cookware. I'll bribe him with promise of char siew and siew yoke har! har!

    1. PH, all good accountants appreciate products that are value for money and represents good investments, not just monetary, but health wise and convenience. I am sure your hubby is a first class accountant :)))

  13. Pork heaven, would this work with pork fillet or does it need the fat from the belly?


    1. Hi Dave, pork belly is the best as the fat gives moisture to the lean meaty parts. You can discard those fatty parts post cooking, but we asians love those melt-in-the-mouth fatty bits!

  14. Thinking of luxury set or Goldie set with add on secuquick n audiotherm. Any comment which is more worthy?


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