It is sort of like a jerky, but much less dry than your usual beef jerky. It is my all-time favorite CNY snack! A week prior to CNY, I was hunting all over Chinatown and the Chinese neighborhood around my area to try and get my hands on some, but to no avail. Seems like it is a Southeast Asian specialty, not so readily available here. I did managed to find a website that sells it, but it is rather costly. Hence, a quick google search led me to various websites that offers homemade bak kwa recipes!
It looked simple enough, and I had almost all the ingredients on hand, so I tried and it was SO GOOD!! I was so surprised! Especially how easy it was to make it! I am definitely going to make it again when the craving kicks in.. and it is MUCH cheaper than buying it from elsewhere.
The only ingredient I didn't have was 5-spice powder. So, I made my own from scratch. It is easy enough if you have all the spices, and then just pound them with a pestle and mortar into powder and mix them. I included the 5-spice powder recipe at the end.
I read from other food blogs that adding a little food coloring will give the bak kwa a lovely red hue, so I did that but it is up to you! I suppose without the addition, the final product will just look a little brownish.
Bak Kwa (adapted from The Lazy Stay-at-Home Mommy)
1 lb. Ground Pork
1.5 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp cooking wine
1/2 cup sugar
a few good dashes of 5 spice powder (est. about 1/3tsp)
1/2 Tbsp cooking oil
4 drops of red food coloring (not found in the original recipe, I added this)
Honey mixture for glazing (I mix 3Tbsp of honey with 1Tbsp of water) - this will be more than enough. I only used about half of the mix.
1. Put all ingredients (except honey mixture) in a big bowl and start mixing them with a pair of chopsticks. Blend and stir the mixture in one direction until the meat becomes gluey.
2. Put some gluey meat on parchment paper and lay a big cling wrap on it. Using a rolling pin, roll the minced meat to about 3-5mm, your preference. I wouldn't make it too thin cos I live a good bite to it.
3. Put the parchment paper with ground meat on a baking tray and bake at 200F for 20 minutes or until the meat is solid to touch. (Just lift up one corner, if it feels like a rubber mat, it is done.)
4. Remove the meat and cut into size or shape of your preference, then place them on a new piece of parchment paper/aluminum foil.
5. Brush the meat with some honey mixture before broiling/grilling at 450F. Make sure you keep a close watch on the bak kwa because they brown and burn easily.
6. Flip over when the meat turns golden brown, and repeat #5.
7. Once done, let it cool and enjoy!
To store, place them in an air-tight container, like a tupperware, and put them in the fridge. They can last for 3 days. To reheat them, just pop them in a toaster, or microwave them for 20 seconds!
5-spice Powder (from busycooks.about.com)
1 tsp. ground Szechwan pepper
1 tsp. ground star anise
1-1/4 tsp. ground fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper