Bak kwa means dried meat in the Hokkien dialect. In Mandarin, it is known as ‘rou gan’. This meat jerky is made up of minced pork usually and a variety of ingredients that provides amazing aroma. Bak kwa strongly reminds me of Chinese New Year as during this time of the year, it is probably the most precious commodity and is rather expensive. The streets in Chinatown would be extremely smoky as various stalls go about with the preparation to cope with the demand. It has been increasingly popular to present these as gifts during the festive season regardless of the price increase over the years. Hence, why not give it a try at making your own instead? It would be more meaningful too.
The type of meat used is important when making bak kwa. Choosing meat which contains a good amount of fats would enhance the flavours during the cooking process. I prefer choosing the pork shoulder/butt to mince. However, if it is minced meat, opt for those which has about 20% fat.
Additionally, the smoky taste of bak kwa is the key to its deliciousness. It is best prepared on a charcoal grill. If you do not have one, using an oven as shown in the video is also possible albeit the smoky aroma may not be present. This would not in any way lessen the deliciousness of the bak kwa.
While bak kwa is known to be made with pork, it can certainly be made using beef or even chicken. Simply replace pork with the meat of your choice. If you want to prepare minced chicken, choose chicken thighs if you prefer the meat to be more succulent.
Bak kwa is best consumed within 3 days for its freshness. It should not be kept for more than 7 days and must be stored in an airtight container before being refrigerated. Before consuming, either steam it for 15 minutes, microwave at very low heat for 2 minutes or pan fry over low heat for 5 minutes.
Bak Kwa is also known as: Chinese BBQ Meat Jerky肉干Bak KuaLong Yoke Korn
Mix all ingredients (excluding honey and hot water) to minced meat. It should have a sticky texture once it is thoroughly mixed.
Flatten meat on a piece of baking paper with a rolling pin. Heat oven at 180 degrees Celsius and bake meat for 15 minutes.
Remove juice extracted from the meat and turn it over. Bake for another 15 minutes. Transfer meat onto a new piece of baking paper. Brush the mixture of honey and hot water onto the surface of the meat. Place on a higher rack in the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes. Turn meat over to apply honey and water mixture. Bake for a further 5-10 minutes.
Allow to cool and cut into desired size. Grilled bak kwa is best eaten within 3 days. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 7 days and should be heated in a pan, grilled or microwaved before consuming.