One Experiment : Two Ways

Char Siew in Breadmaker

Welcome to the heartbeat of Munch Ministry.

Before we begin, let me introduce myself – my name is Louisa. I am an eater, photographer, homecook, outdoor lover and a gadget enthusiast. Therein lies the list of my passions.

In the 2nd week of October 2015, Pauline decided to hop back onboard Munch Ministry after almost a one and a half year break. This happened whilst we were treating ourselves to a delicious breakfast. Needless to say I was delighted for two is always better than one.

Meet Pauline. She is an eater, homecook, crafter, education and gadget enthusiast. Therein lies the list of her passions.

Louisa n Pauline Photo by Cause & Effect Studio

Pauline and I talked about taking on new challenges for ourselves, trying out new ways, methods, tastes etc. .. to experiment. We thought it would be fun and maybe even helpful if we gave everyone a sneak peek into these experiments. The plan is to post these challenges once a month or whenever inspiration strikes. And since two is always better than one we bring you ..

 

*ONE EXPERIMENT : TWO WAYS*

 

Making Char Siew Using The Breadmaker
How interesting does that sound! Is it even possible? We were determined to find out.

 

Louisa
When life hands you a breadmaker, make Char Siew.
Just kidding.
We all use what we have and try to make the best of it. Sometimes without knowing, what you have can do for you so much more if you look out of the box or change your perspective. You just have to take a chance and give it a go. Who knows the outcome till you try. Right?
So .. back to Char Siew and the breadmaker..

Recipe for Char Siew :
Check out Pauline’s Homemade Char Siew recipe

Method :
1) Mix marinade ingredients together. Place meat and marinade in an air-tight bag. Refrigerate overnight.
2) Bring meat to room temperature before starting to cook
3) Remove blade in breadmaker bowl. Place the meat in and cover bowl with aluminium foil. Hit the bake cycle button on your machine (auto sets at 1 hour).

Char Siew in Breadmaker

Results :
I forgot to cover with foil during the first bake cycle! Duh! There was still quite a lot of water collected and the meat looked like it could do with more cooking so I started another bake cycle, this time making sure the foil was on. Midway through the cycle when I saw that the water was still there, I opened the foil halfway to let it escape. After 2 bake cycles, the meat was too cooked and dry, some parts were charred. I was disappointed but made the best out of it by serving it up Char Siew Bak Pau style *winks*

Lesson :
1 cycle is sufficient. Do not cover with foil fully, leave an opening for steam to escape. Using the breadmaker is more like braising the meat. Do not expect roasting. So after 1 cycle, finish off the meat in a toaster to grill, brush on the leftover oil/liquid to give the meat a caramelised finished. Will I do this again? Yes! I think I will .. but to make Kong Bak! Stay tuned 🙂

 

Pauline
Discovering and experimenting new ways of cooking has always made me excited. When we embarked on this experiment, we really don’t know what to expect but we held onto the enthusiasm and finally made it happen. While I can’t really say I was too impressed by the end results, it did show that a bread maker can indeed be “hacked” and be used for other purposes besides baking breads *smile*

Louisa executed the experiment earlier than I did, hence her sharing of the attempt that she’s made was invaluable to me. I took her learnings and tweaked it a little to my “advantage” *smirk*

Recipe for Char Siew (link) : Here’s the recipe I’ve always used for char siew
Method :
1) Mix all the ingredients of the marinade in a bowl
2) Pat dry pork shoulder butt meat thoroughly with paper kitchen towels
3) Place meat into a container that comes with a lid, add in the marinade and combine well
4) Tightly fit the lid and place container into the fridge to marinate the meat overnight
5) 1 hour before baking the meat, bring the container out of the fridge and let the meat come to room temperature.
6) Remove the blade of the bread maker and place meat at the bottom of the pan
1E2WCharsiew 1 1E2W Charsiew 37) Seal up to 90% of the opening of the bread pan (I picked up the tip from Louisa about sealing the pan) with a sheet of aluminium foil (see photo illustration)
2015-10-11 18.00.51-28) Set the mode of the bread maker to “bake”; this particular brand of bread maker I’ve used takes about 1 hour for the baking process to complete.
Results :
1E2W Charsiew 4The meat was well cooked with good flavour, but lacking in the aesthetics (ie. the all yummilicious charred bits on the edge of the meat that gives it the distinct char siew look). It was more like braised meat than char siew to me haha… There was a pool of oil/water that was collected at the bottom of the bread pan, probably came with the “steaming” of the meat in the pan.

Not satisfied that the meat didn’t turn out like the typical char siew, I popped the meat into the toaster oven and let it grill for 10mins (5 mins on each side). This step didn’t disappoint! Finally, I had my char siew that looks like char siew! *yaay*
1E2W Charsiew 5 Lesson :
I wouldn’t say that it’s an unfruitful experiment. Learning and willing to make adjustments to what seemed like a failed attempt in the kitchen, can bring new surprises. Dare to try and add that with a little common sense makes cooking fun ultimately!

 

Thanks for hoping along this challenge with us. We are excited to learn more as we move on to try out new ideas. Every now and then we will post it up to share what we have learned. Meantime, do let us know if there is anything you would like us to try out that we can share and would be interesting and informative for everyone. For now, please accept our invitation to join us in this fun!

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