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An Asian Culinary Journey: Homemade Roujiamo with Char Siu and Cucumber Salad

An Asian Culinary Journey: Homemade Roujiamo with Char Siu and Cucumber Salad

Join me on a tasty trek across Asia as we whip up a cozy Roujiamo, slather it with some drool-worthy Char Siu, and top it off with a zesty cucumber salad. This guide's gonna walk you through each step, making sure you nail this dish in your kitchen for a fab dining vibe.

Kicking It Off with Roujiamo Bread

Let's get our hands doughy with some homemade Roujiamo bread, finding that sweet spot of soft yet chewy that'll make you go, "Oh yeah!"


    • Prepare the Dough Base:
      • Begin by combining the flour and salt in a mixing bowl to ensure an even distribution of the salt throughout the flour.
      • Introduce sugar and baking powder to the mix, blending thoroughly to incorporate.
    • Incorporate the Liquid:
      • Gradually add whole milk to the dry ingredients, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Mix until the dough is smooth and consistent.
    • First Resting Phase:
      • Drizzle oil over the dough's surface, covering it uniformly. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. During this time, the dough should become elastic and soft.
    • Portion and Second Kneading:
      • Divide the rested dough into eight equal pieces. Take each piece and knead it into a smooth ball.
      • After shaping, lightly brush each ball with oil to prevent drying.
    • Second Resting Phase:
      • Cover the dough balls with parchment paper and let them rest for an additional 20 minutes. This step helps the gluten relax and makes the dough easier to work with.
    • Rolling Out:
      • Take each dough ball and roll it out to achieve maximum thinness without tearing, aiming for an even, flat surface.
    • Oil and Fold:
      • Brush a light layer of oil over the rolled-out dough. This helps to create layers in the bread.
      • Fold the edges of the dough toward the center and brush with oil again.
    • Final Shaping:
      • Roll the folded dough piece lightly and tuck in the ends to secure it.
      • Flatten the dough from top to bottom, forming a circular shape.
    • Freezing (Optional):
      • At this stage, you can freeze the prepared dough shapes. Place them between sheets of parchment paper and store in the freezer.
    • Final Rolling Before Cooking:
      • When ready to cook, roll out each piece until it is approximately 0.5 cm thick.
    • Cooking:
      • Heat a frying pan over low heat. You may add a bit of oil to prevent sticking.
      • Place the dough in the pan and cover it. Cook on low heat to ensure the bread cooks evenly without burning.

    Tips and Tricks

    Alrighty, let's dish out some handy tips and tricks! Diving into the Roujiamo game was a blast, but I picked up a couple of lessons for round two:

    • First off, don't be stingy with the oil! I thought I'd play it cool and cut back a bit, aiming for a leaner bread. Nope, didn't work out as planned. The bread kinda missed that oomph. So, the moral of the story: follow the oil amounts like they're your culinary GPS. It's key for getting that dreamy, soft texture and those irresistible layers.
    • Now, let's talk dough rolling – it's like the thinner, the better. We're aiming for supermodel thinness here. When you hit the "Oil and Fold" stage, think "thin to win." A wafer-thin dough means you get a bread that's not just fluffy but also has that cloud-like vibe we're after. So, get your rolling pin and let's aim for parchment-paper thinness to really nail that Roujiamo flair next time.

    Char Siu - Let's Get Saucy

    Next up, Char Siu, that's so good, it might just make you weep tears of joy.


      • Prepare the Pork:
        • Begin by cutting the pork shoulder into long, 1-inch thick slices. Ensure that each piece is of uniform thickness to promote even cooking.
        • Using a fork, thoroughly poke both sides of each pork slice. This process helps in tenderizing the meat and allows it to absorb the marinade more effectively.
      • Prepare the Marinade:
        • In a mixing bowl, combine garlic salt, brown sugar, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, hoisin sauce, red wine, Shaoxing wine, red fermented bean curd, and five spice powder.
        • Stir the mixture until it is well-blended and smooth, ensuring all the sugar has dissolved and the ingredients are evenly distributed.
      • Marinate the Pork:
        • Place the pork slices in a large zip-top bag.
        • Pour the prepared marinade over the pork, ensuring each slice is well-coated.
        • Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and gently massage the pork through the bag to ensure the marinade is thoroughly worked into the meat.
        • Refrigerate the marinated pork for at least 6 to 8 hours, allowing the flavors to penetrate deeply.
      • Cooking the Char Siu:
        • Preheat your grill or oven to a low temperature, aiming for around 300°F (150°C).
        • Remove the pork from the marinade, and place it on the grill or in the oven.
        • Cook slowly, turning occasionally and basting with the marinade. Continue cooking until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
        • Once cooked, remove the pork from the heat and let it rest before slicing.

      Tips and Tricks

      • Marinate Like a Boss: The secret to flavorful Char Siu lies in its marinade. Don't rush this step. Let your pork marinate for at least 6 to 8 hours, but overnight is even better. The longer it bathes in those spices and sauces, the more intense and deeper the flavors will be. Make sure every piece of pork gets a good coating of that marinade magic; massaging it in can really help the flavors penetrate.
      • Baste to Taste: Don't let your Char Siu go dry. Keep some marinade aside (or mix up a quick baste with honey, soy sauce, and a little water) and give your pork a good brush every now and then while it's cooking. This not only adds an extra layer of flavor but also gives the Char Siu that signature glossy, caramelized finish we all love.
      • Embrace the Smoke: I love to cook my Char Siu on a Kamado Joe Ceramic Grill; it's about adding an extra layer of smoky goodness that can't be replicated in an oven. This method infuses the pork with a subtle smokiness that elevates the dish, making your Char Siu truly unforgettable.

      Cucumber Salad - Freshen Up

      And for the grand finale, a cucumber salad that's like a crisp high-five to your taste buds.


      • Prepare the Cucumber:
        • Slice the cucumber thinly. Place the slices in a colander and sprinkle them with sugar. Toss gently to coat and let them sit to draw out the water, ideally from morning until afternoon.
      • Prepare the Carrot:
        • Peel the carrot. Instead of chopping, use the peeler to create thin ribbons or slices of carrot.
      • Prepare the Onion:
        • Thinly slice the onion to achieve a delicate texture. In a small bowl, squeeze lemon juice over the onion slices, ensuring they are well-coated. This process will soften the onions and mellow their sharpness.
      • Combine and Season:
        • After the cucumber has released its water, combine it in a salad bowl with the carrot and lemon-soaked onion.
        • Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the acidity by adding more lemon juice if needed.
      • Final Touch:
        • Before serving, drain any excess liquid from the salad. Add a dash of mustard and toss everything gently to mix the flavors.

      Tips and Tricks

      • Drain the Cucumber Well: This process draws out excess water, ensuring your salad stays crisp and not soggy. The key is patience; the longer you let the cucumber drain, the better your salad will hold its texture and flavor, especially if you're not serving it immediately.
      • Balance Your Flavors: After combining your cucumber with the carrot and onion, taste and adjust your seasonings. Maybe your salad needs an extra squeeze of lemon for brightness or an extra pinch of salt for depth. Remember, the salad's flavor will develop over time, so re-taste and adjust just before serving.
      • Add a Final Touch: Before serving, give your salad a little zing with a dash of mustard. It's not just about adding a bit of heat; mustard can bring all the flavors together, creating a more cohesive taste profile. 

      Put It All Together

      Now for the pièce de résistance! Pry open that fluffy Roujiamo, pile in a heap of Char Siu, and crown it with the cucumber salad. Trust me, the mix of fatty pork, tangy salad, and crispy bread is like a food group hug. Dig in and let the flavors do a happy dance on your taste buds.

      Don't be shy—tell me how it goes, swap in your flair, and share your masterpiece below. Let's keep this culinary party rolling!

      Equipment list:

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