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12 Delicious Days of Christmas: Chinese Ham with Maple and Brown Sugar

A delicious option to traditional Chinese ham which is usually served with a pineapple glaze

In China, dry-cured ham is normally used to flavor stews or braises or to make stock. But in the journey from China to the Philippines, Chinese ham became a popular Christmas treat. Perhaps it was because of the pungent saltiness that made a little ham go a long way, so large families could feast on ham for days. Perhaps it was also because a creative cook thought to temper its saltiness with a sweet glaze, feeding into the Pinoy palate for salty-sweet combinations. Whatever the reason, for many Filipino families, Christmas is not complete without a Chinese ham, here glazed in apple juice and maple syrup instead of the ubiquitous pineapple juice. Slice it up into slivers then eat sandwiched between hot pandesal.  The original recipe was shared with FOOD Magazine by food writer, Cecilia Juntereal.

Chinese Ham with Maple and Brown Sugar Glaze | JC Inocian

Chinese Ham with Maple and Brown Sugar Glaze

1 fully-cooked Chinese ham, about 3 to 5 kilos 

1 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup brown sugar 

1/2 cup apple juice 

1/2 cup brown sugar, for additional sugar crusting (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. Place ham, fat side up, on a roasting rack. Score the fat, if desired. 

3. Combine maple syrup, brown sugar and apple juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Do not let it boil over. 

4. Spoon the glaze mixture over the ham. Place ham in the preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes. Add more brown sugar on top if you want additional crusting. 

5. Slice ham and serve with pandesal and queso de bola slices. 

Photography by JC Inocian