Monday, January 23, 2012

Bak Kwa

Chinese all across the globe are ushering the year of the dragon and celebrating the Chinese New Year now and one of the quintessential Chinese New Year (CNY) goodies is the bak kwa!

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

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

Best Blogger Tips

No comments:

Post a Comment