Sticky chinese pork


This quick and easy fakeaway dish is a healthy twist on a classic Chinese dish

15 mins

10 mins

179 kcals

serves 4

Sticky Chinese pork with sesame seeds on top in a bowl with chop sticks on top of the bowl. Two bowls either side, one with white rice and the other with vegetablesPin

Sticky Chinese pork

This sticky Chinese pork recipe is about as easy as it gets when it comes to making a deliciously dark and sticky glazed Chinese pork. Pork is one of the most versatile meats and has been a staple in many cultures around the world. In Chinese cuisine, pork is often used in dishes like char siu, which is a popular Cantonese dish that uses roasted or barbecued pork. I love Char Sui pork but this twist on the classic recipe is a lower calorie alternative that combines the best of both worlds with great results.

What is Sticky Chinese pork?

This recipe is a twist on the classic Chinese dish Char Siu pork. Both these dishes contain pork that is marinated in a sauce before being cooked and then sliced. What’s great about this dish is the mix of sweet and savoury flavours that come from the mix of ingredients and then how the sauce caramelises to create a sticky coating on the pork when it is served, which is very similar to the takeaway version.

I would normally serve this with some side dish like rice or stir fried vegetables. It also works great as part of an asian inspired feast if you are planning on cooking for a group of people.

The ingredients you need for this sticky Chinese pork recipe?

Here’s what you need to make Sticky Chinese Pork:

  • PORK – The main ingredient is obviously the pork. For this recipe I use either a pork tenderloin or some pork steaks. It’s important to remove any visible fat to help cut down on calories.
  • CHINESE 5 SPICE – This spice mix is a great way to add real depth to this dish. The spice normally consists of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, star anise and Sichuan peppercorns. This spice combination provides a unique blend of sweet, savoury and warmth that really helps balance the flavour of the sticky pork to create a well rounded and satisfying dish that tastes authentic. You can easily pick this up from the spice section in most supermarkets.
  • SOY SAUCE – This is another staple in many Asian dishes made from fermented soy beans. Soy Sauce provides a salty savoury flavour which helps compliment the sweetness from the other ingredients. The “umami” flavour of soy sauce also helps provide a meaty savoury taste. The colour of the soy sauce is what gives the pork its dark appetising look in this recipe. You can use light or general purpose soy sauce but its the dark soy sauce that gives this dish the added sweetness.
  • GINGER – . The ginger in this recipe is peeled and then finely chopped and really adds to the fragrant aromatics of the dish.
  • CHILLI FLAKES – The chilli flakes used here are to add a bit of heat to the dish. You can always leave them out or reduce the amount you use to control the heat level.
  • HONEY – This recipe uses a standard shop bought honey either from a jar or squeezy bottle to provide the sticky glaze and add sweetness to the dish. Honeys from different areas do take on a unique taste so its worth trying different varieties to see how it affects the taste.
  • TOMATO PUREE – This gives a good thick base to the sauce and provides the classic red colour for the pork coating.

This dish is perfect for those who are looking for a healthy and tasty alternative to the traditional char siu. The main ingredient, pork, is an excellent source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles. Additionally, pork is rich in B vitamins, iron, and phosphorus, making it a nutritious and filling ingredient.

The equipment you need to make sticky Chinese pork.

This is such a simple and quick recipe that you really don’t need that much at all.

  • KNIFE – A sharp kitchen knife is needed to slice the pork into thin strips.
  • BOWL – Make sure your bowl is big enough to hold the ingredients for the sauce and the pork once it’s added. Ideally the pork would fit quite snug into the bowl to make sure that the sauce fully covers it.
  • WOK OR FRYING PAN – A wok is ideal for this recipe as it will allow you to get it hotter and cook the meat quicker. However a frying pan will still work great. I use quite a large frying pan, about 30cm. This allows me to get the pork in without over crowding it. If you only have a smaller frying pan then it’s best to cook the pork in smaller batches.

What can be served with sticky Chinese pork?

This is quite a versatile dish so there are a few options for side dishes that can be served alongside the sticky pork.

  • RICE – The easiest option is to serve the pork on a bed of steaming white or brown rice. Just remember that brown rice takes a little longer to cook than white so get this on a bit sooner.
  • VEGETABLES – You can either steam or stir fry a selection of vegetables like carrots, sugar snap peas and broccoli. When preparing the vegetables try to cut them to the same size so they all cook evenly. Also chopping them slightly smaller means they will cook quicker which is helpful as the pork cooked pretty quickly in this recipe.
  • NOODLES – There are a variety of noodles that can be served alongside the pork. Egg noodles are the most common type of noodles that are served in takeaways so this is what I usually go for. You can also cook the noodles in chicken stock instead of water to add a little more flavour.
  • SALAD – If the pork is forming more of a lighter meal then a salad is a great choice to pair with the pork. You can keep it simple with a selection of mixed greens or put together a chopped asian salad with a dressing.

How to store sticky Chinese pork

Yes you can store this dish in the fridge for 3-4 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  • FRIDGE – The leftover pork should ideally placed in a reusable, clean airtight container. Alternatively it can be tightly wrapped in clingfilm, just make sure that this is again airtight. You can then store it in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • FREEZER – Place the leftover pork ideally in a reusable, clean airtight container that is freezer safe. Alternatively tightly wrap it in clingfilm making sure that it’s airtight. Make sure to label the container with the date that it went into the freezer. This can then be stored for up to 3 month.

When you are ready to eat the pork , thaw it in the fridge overnight. Alternatively you can use a microwave on a defrost setting – just follow the microwave instructions.

These storage tips will keep the pork fresh and retain the flavours for longer.

Reheating suggestions

To reheat the dish is very simple. Make sure that if you have taken the leftovers out of the freezer that they have fully defrosted before trying to reheat.

  • STOVETOP – Place the left over pork into a saucepan and heat over a medium heat until heated through. You will need to stir the sticky pork occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Sometimes the pork can begin to dry out during reheating so feel free to add a little water to stop the sauce from becoming too thick.
  • MICROWAVE – Place the left over pork into a microwave safe dish and cover with a microwave safe lid or clingfilm. Then heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until heated through. Avoid over heating the pork as it can become quite tough. The steam inside is extremely hot so leave the pork to stand for 1-2 minutes and then remove the lid or clingfilm carefully to avoid being burnt.

Does this recipe have any allergens?

Yes this dish does contain ingredients that cause common allergens.

  • SOY SAUCE – This contains both soy and wheat. You can substitute the soy sauce with tamari.
  • SESAME SEEDS – This obviously contains sesame. These are only added when serving so they can be left off if needed.

DISCLAIMER: This information is given as a guide and is by no way definitive. It’s still really important you check all the ingredients you are planning on using to make sure that they don’t contain allergens if this is something that affects you.


How can I reduce the salt in this dish?

The soy sauce used in this dish is traditional salty, so you could opt for a soy sauce with low salt as an alternative.

There are also low salt tomato purees on the market that will also help to reduce the salt levels.

I don’t add any additional salt to this dish as the soy sauce has enough in it already. If you normally add extra salt to a dish it’s always best to taste it first and then adjust the salt levels.

How spicy is this?

This recipe uses a small amount of dried chilli flakes to add a bit of heat. If you would rather not have any heat you can leave the chilli flakes out or reduce the amount used. Equally if you like more heat you can increase the amount of chilli flakes used, but don’t add too many as this can dry the out a bit.

How do I know when the pork is cooked?

There are three main ways to check that the pork is cooked:

Temperature – Both the tenderloin, once it’s been sliced, and the steaks are too thin to really use a meat thermometer to check the temperature for this recipe.

Texture – Once cooked the pork should be tender and juicy., not tough and dry.

Appearance – You want a uniformed colour throughout the pork, there should be no raw pink in the middle. The juices that run out of the pork should be clear or faintly pink. You should cook the pork for longer if the juices are entirely pink or red.

Can I use chicken or beef instead of pork?

Yes both chicken and beef work well for this. Both of these meats can be marinaded the same as the pork.

Chicken breast works best as there is less fat, but if you remove all the fat from thighs they will also work.

For the beef I would use a steak like rump.

For both these meats you will need to slice them similar to the pork. The cooking times will alter slightly for both meats so you just need to keep an eye on them. Make sure the chicken is coked all the way through before serving. The beef can be cooked to your preference.

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Sticky Chinese pork with sesame seeds on top in a bowl with chop sticks on top of the bowl. Two bowls either side, one with white rice and the other with vegetables

Sticky chinese pork

  • Author: Pip Payne
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


A very quick, easy and yummy fakeaway recipe 

Syns: 0.5 per portion


  • 1 pork tenderloin (Approx 4-500g) (or 4 pork steaks, any visitble fat removed)
  • 1 tsp chinese 5 spice
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 cm piece of ginger (finely chopped)
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • Low calorie cooking spray


  1. Slice the pork into thin strips
  2. mix together with all of the other ingredients, and leave to marinate for 10 minutes (or longer if you want to prepare it in advance)
  3. Put a wok or frying pan on a high heat, spray with the low calorie spray and cook for approx. 10 minutes until pork cooked through and sauce sticky


If you haven’t yet used your healthy extra b for the day you could top with some toasted sesame seeds (2 level tbsp are your HEB). Serve with egg fried rice and stir fried vegetables. If you want to cut out syns completely you could substitute the honey for sweetener.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes

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