Sweet, sticky, and savoury, Char Siu (Chinese BBQ) chicken is a delicious chicken dinner packed with classic Asian flavours with incredible depth of flavour. The honey in the sticky glaze creates a beautiful caramelization colour that is iconic on a Char Siu and fermented red beans adds that distinct red colour. Plus, making it at home just tastes so much better than takeout. Marinate it ahead of time and bake it in the oven in just 40 minutes. It's the best dinner on busy weeknights or on any night of the week.
If you like barbecue pork belly, then you will love this chicken version with the same classic Cantonese flavours that will fill your kitchen with the best smells. Serve this Char Sui chicken over a bowl steamed rice or fried rice with the pan drippings on top, and a Chinese cucumber salad or stir-fried vegetables on the side.
Ingredients in Char Siu Chicken
To make Char Siu chicken, you will need the following ingredients:
- chicken - boneless chicken breast or thighs. I used skinless chicken but you can keep the skin on if you prefer.
- hoisin sauce
- vegetable oil
- dark soy sauce
- ground black pepper
- fermented red bean curd - this is optional but it's what gives the Char Siu it's iconic red colouring.
- sesame seeds - for garnish.
How to Make the Best Char Siu (Chinese BBQ) Chicken
- Marinate the chicken. Pat dry chicken breasts (or thighs) completely with a paper towel before adding seasoning. Transfer the chicken to a ziploc bag and add in hoisin sauce, honey, vegetable oil, dark soy sauce, and garlic. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Press the marinate around the chicken to coat and place in the fridge to marinate at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Roast the chicken. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a roasting pan (or quarter sheet baking pan) with aluminum foil and place the wire rack on top. Arrange the chicken on top of the wire rack. (You can add a cup of water to the bottom of the baking pan to keep the pan from smoking due to the pan drippings getting burnt). Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through baking.
- Make the extra glaze. In a small bowl, whisk to combine hoisin sauce, honey, fermented red bean curd and black pepper. The extra Char Siu sauce adds a beautiful caramelizing glaze on the chicken from the browning of the sugar during baking.
- Apply the glaze. Remove the chicken from the oven and generously apply the Char Siu sauce over each piece with a silicone brush and place back in the oven for another 3 minutes. Flip the chicken, apply Char Siu sauce again on the other side and bake for another 3 minutes. The internal temperature for the chicken should reach 165 F when measured on a meat thermometer.
- Broil. Apply additional char siu sauce, if desired. Turn the broiler on high and broil the chicken for an additional 2-3 minutes to achieve a caramel brown colour and until the edges of the chicken become slightly charred.
- Serve. Serve with a bowl of steamed rice and sprinkle sesame seeds for garnish.
How to Store
Store any leftover Char Siu (Chinese BBQ) chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, heat on the stove over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until warmed through. The sauce may have thickened up a bit when stored, so add a little water to thin it out, as needed.
More Chinese Recipes
- Vegetarian Fried Rice
- Shanghai Style Fried Noodles
- Healthy Lemon Chicken
- Beef Potstickers (Dumplings)
- Baked Sesame Chicken
- Chicken and Cilantro Wontons
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