My family gathers for meals every week. My grandma toils for hours in a hot kitchen to produce a banquet for all of us (think Eat Drink Man Woman. Really). When I was much younger, my grandma would always tell me to eat all the rice in my bowl. She said that for every grain left, my future husband would have that same amount of pimples/scars on his face. This meant if I didn’t finish the 5 grains in my rice bowl, my future husband would have 5 pimples/scars on his face. I suppose the rice bowl represented his face.
Fast forward 15-20 years: Wednesday night dinner – Chashu on rice. This is not to be mistaken for Chinese Char Siu. Chashu is often enjoyed atop a steaming hot bowl of ramen. Chashu may be the Japanese version of Char Siu (Chinese barbecued pork) but the two could not be less alike – the ingredients and cooking technique are worlds apart.
Essentially, Chashu is pork that is braised over low heat for no less than an hour, so that the meat becomes incredibly tender. I used this recipe because I had all the ingredients on-hand and the method seemed simple enough.
My only variation was that I added a stalk of spring onion (green onion) to the braising liquid. 5 minutes into braising and the wonderful aromas of the ginger, garlic, spring onion and mirin wafted through my apartment. There was no way this was not going to taste good. I was right.
Chinese are full of superstitions. Whenever I eat rice, I still feel like that little girl, and tonight, I gobbled every last grain in my bowl.