Char Siu Marinade

You know that red pork in Asian dishes? Well, that’s char siu. It’s sweet, sticky, fragrant. Pretty much what makes┬ámy favorite fried rice in the whole world so delicious. There is no need to eat sweet, little piggies when you can make this dish and spare a life. I used homemade seitan today, but this will work great with tofu, plant-based meatballs, and even battered cauliflower like the kind used to make Buffalo cauliflower. You will want to let whatever you’re cooking marinate for at least two hours and up to 12 hour. Skip the marinating if using breaded cauliflower or some other breaded product. This isn’t as red as the char siu you will see at an Asian market because I skipped the food coloring. If you happen to have some made out of beets, feel free to use that. Otherwise, just avoid food dyes all together. The negative impact they have on us and other living creatures just isn’t worth it.

So after my seitan had a nice soak in the marinade, I browned it on both sides over medium-high heat. I then added the rest of the marinade to the pan and reduced the heat to medium-low and cooked until it dried up.



  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • few drop of liquid smoke (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Mix all ingredients until the sugar dissolves and everything is combined well.

Let sit for two hours before using.



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