Bak Kwa Recipe (Pork Jerky)

Bak Kwa (Chinese Pork Jerky)

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Chinese New Year (CNY) is just a few days away (23 January, Mon), have you bought your bak kwa (Chinese bbq pork jerky;rougan; long yoke; 肉干) yet? By this time, there will be long queues at popular bak kwa stores and the prices will be sky high (at least S$40 per kg). I have always hated queuing so I almost never buy bak kwa during the festive season anymore.

See Also: Pen Cai Recipe

This year, I experimented with making my own bak kwa and I was pleasantly surprised by the result. I will definitely be making a few more batches before CNY. The ingredients are really cheap (just minced pork and seasonings) and I am using the oven to do the grilling. The quantity listed below will fit one standard oven tray, but feel free to make several batches at a time according to your needs and oven size. As long as you have the proper set-up and equipment, believe me that making your own home-made bak kwa is actually a breeze to pull off!

Printable Recipe
Bak Kwa Recipe (Chinese Pork Jerky) (Step-by-Step)
Bak Kwa (Chinese Pork Jerky) Combine minced pork and seasonings in a deep plate. Mix the ingredients with the back of a spoon in a circular motion, until the red hue is even; this will take several minutes. The resultant mixture will have a gluey consistency. Wrap plate with cling wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.
Bak Kwa (Chinese Pork Jerky) Place parchment paper on a flat surface and spread the meat mixture one layer as thin as possible (about 5mm) with the back of a spoon.
Bak Kwa (Chinese Pork Jerky) Align the wire mesh directly over the meat mixture and invert it.
Bak Kwa (Chinese Pork Jerky) Carefully peel away the parchment paper.
Bak Kwa (Chinese Pork Jerky) Place the wire mesh with the meat mixture on top of an oven wire-rack with a tray beneath it. Bake the bak kwa at low heat for 20 minutes to dry the meat, then increase the oven heat and bake for 12 minutes.
Bak Kwa (Chinese Pork Jerky) When cool enough to handle, remove wire rack and transfer bak kwa to chopping board. Use a pizza cutter or pair of kitchen scissors to cut bak kwa to desired shapes and sizes.
Return bak kwa pieces to wire rack, the other side up (the side with the wire grill lines), and continue baking for 10-15 minutes, until the edges start to char slightly. Cool on wire rack and store in air-tight container.

Bak Kwa (Chinese Pork Jerky)

Bak Kwa Recipe (Pork Jerky)

Home-made bak kwa is easier than you think! In this recipe, the quantities for the seasonings are small, so it is essential to use a measurement spoon for accuracy.

Serves: 2-4 (as a snack)

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 200 grams minced pork
  • vegetable oil (for brushing wire mesh)

(A) Seasonings

  • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp 5-spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese wine Hua Tiao/Shao Hsing
  • dashes of white pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp caster (castor) or super fine sugar
  • 1/2 tsp knorr ikan bilis seasoning powder double light soy sauce if not using
  • 1/8 tsp red food colouring I use Bake King Cochineal Red/Cherry Red

Tools

  • wire rack for oven
  • a wire mesh cut to fit your oven
  • parchment paper (same size as wire rack)

Directions

  1. Combine minced pork and seasonings (A) in a deep plate. Mix the ingredients (except vegetable oil) with the back of a spoon in a circular motion, until the red hue is even; this will take several minutes. The resultant mixture will have a gluey consistency. Wrap plate with cling wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.
  2. Place parchment paper on a flat surface and spread the meat mixture one layer as thin as possible (about 5mm) with the back of a spoon.
  3. Brush the wire mesh with some vegetable oil. Align the wire mesh directly over the meat mixture, invert it, then carefully peel away the parchment paper.
  4. Place the wire mesh with the meat mixture on top of an oven wire-rack with a tray beneath it. Bake the bak kwa at preheated oven of 100°C for 20 minutes to dry the meat.
  5. Increase the oven heat to 180°C (356°F) and bake for 12 minutes.
  6. When cool enough to handle, remove wire rack and transfer bak kwa to chopping board. Use a pizza cutter or pair of kitchen scissors to cut bak kwa to desired shapes and sizes.
  7. Return bak kwa pieces to wire rack, the other side up (the side with the wire grill lines), and continue baking for 10-15 minutes, until the edges start to char slightly. Cool on wire rack and store in air-tight container.

Noob Cook Tips

  1. It is essential to rest the bak kwa on a wire mesh instead of a flat oven tray. Otherwise, the underside of the bak kwa will become smooth and flat when cooked, looking unnatural. The wire mesh helps the bak kwa to retain its rough texture by reducing surface contact with it.
  2. Obtain a piece of wire mesh from the BBQ section of any supermarket. Get those without a thick frame around it as you will most likely need to trim it down to fit your oven. Use a pair of wire cutters to snip off the excess length. You can bend the remaining protruding wires inwards with a pair of pliers to reduce the sharp edges. Scrub the wire mesh with a stiff brush and detergent and rinse well before using.