Bullet-proof Bak Kwa Recipe

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)


The marinate

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.

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