Lunar New Year is around the corner again and I’m going to let you into a little secret… I’ve not bought Bak Kwa, a kind of meat jerky that is served as a snack during the festive season. And since everyone’s bugging me for the recipe, I don’t mind sharing it, in case some of you are sick of queuing and paying for this overpriced produce (USD $45 to $50 per kg is a rip-off IMO)
500g of minced meat (pork or chicken will work, make sure there’s some fats to them)
1 tbs peanut oil
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs Chinese cooking wine or Sherry (I use Shao Xing wine)
3 tbs Soya sauce
1 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs good quality thick black sauce
100g white sugar
3 tbs honey
2 tsp five-spice powder
1 tbs fermented red bean curd
½ tsp rose water
1 tsp of red colouring
Start by combining all the marinate ingredients, I use a whisk to make sure the powder and fermented red bean curd is mixed evenly. Don’t be lazy on this step!
Pour everything into a Ziploc bag, including the meat, zip it up and mix it around until a dark crimson red mixture is achieved. For best results, leave it over night in the fridge.
Pre-heat oven to 120 degrees-c
Line a sheet pan with parchment (baking) paper and pour HALF the mixture into it. Use your hands or a spatula to spread the meat evenly to form approximately 28cm x 22cm.
Bake in oven for 20 minutes. The meat should dry and some liquid will seep out from the meat.
After 20 minutes, turn the oven up to 160 degrees-c and continue baking for 10 minutes. Use a brush to pick up the liquid that seeps out and baste the meat with it. This is the liquid that will give you a glaze as it reduces on the meat, or turns into black carbon if left on parchment paper.
Flip the meat over, cut it into 4 pieces and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes until you get a nice shiny glaze on the surface.
Let the meat cool down and it can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Heat it up in a toaster or microwave oven before serving.
Traditionally, the bak kwa is heated up or finished in a charcoal grill. However, we can achieve that similar charcoal smoke flavour using the following Indiancooking method.. Using a big work or pot, spread out the meat in vessel, leave some space in the center for a bowl. Heat up 2 pieces of charcoal over the burner until it’s red hot and place it in the bowl. With the lid of the vessel in one hand, pour in a little oil over the hot charcoal, and quickly put the lid on. Leave it in there to smoke for 15-20 minutes.