This Grilled Chinese Char Siu Chicken will remind you of the roast pork you find in Chinatown. The flavor is sweet and smokey, and best of all, there is no artificial coloring in this version.
Although I haven’t been to Chinatown in many years, I remember walking by the stores with various roasted meats hanging in the window, including Char Siu Pork with its brilliant red color. Although the beautiful red color is one of the things that makes Char Siu Pork appealing, once I realized it was red food coloring that gave it this distinctive quality, I rarely bought it. Instead, I started making it at home every once in a while; but, somehow it just didn’t seem the same without the red color.
Recently, I came across a recipe in Saveur by Chef Shepherd of the Underbelly restaurant in Houston, Texas. Chef Houston very smartly uses beet powder to color his Char Siu Chicken. I had bought a pack of beet powder from myspicer.com earlier this summer but hadn’t figured out what to use it in. So, I was curious what beet powder would look like in this recipe where it replaces red food coloring.
I’m not sure how beet powder is made, but I imagine it is dehydrated beets that have been pulverized. I took a taste and it tastes just like beets.
The key to this recipe is to let the chicken marinate in the char siu sauce for two days. The color is brilliant and the flavors run deep. I made this for my family this past weekend and it was a huge hit. Every last piece was devoured.
Grilled Chinese Char Siu Chicken Recipe
- 1 ⁄4 cup organic brown sugar
- 1 ⁄4 cup raw honey
- 1 ⁄4 cup organic ketchup
- 1 ⁄4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
- 3 tablespoon beet powder
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free hoisin sauce
- 1 ⁄2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- cooking oil spray
- In a large bowl, mix together brown sugar, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, beet powder, vinegar, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder, salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss well, coating all the pieces well; cover and refrigerate for two days to marinate.
- Heat grill; spray cooking oil on grates; grill chicken until cooked through, about 10 minutes per side.
Adapted from Saveur