Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bak Kwa (Homemade Chinese Meat Jerky) 肉干


Chinese New Year is coming, and I'm sure the prices of bak kwa is flying past $40 a kilo. Selling bak kwa for the new year is such a lucrative business that I see why some people jump on this new year train every year (yes, I have classmates who help their parents at their bak kwa stall for only the period leading up to the new year.)

I love bak kwa so much, and last year I had the fortune of having some when Lining brought some from Singapore when she came to visit me in Baltimore. This year, I'm not so lucky, so I had to get down and dirty making some. Really, it is so easy to make, that I really don't think it is worth spending $40 a kilo on, and I was in total control of how the meat dried and how much sugar went into the bak kwa.



Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon cooking wine
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
Ingredients for Glaze
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • red food coloring (optional)


Method
  • Add the fish sauce, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar and five spice powder to the minced pork.



  • Place half the pork onto a piece of baking paper, and cover it with plastic wrap.
  • With a rolling pin, roll out the meat until it is about 3 or 4mm or 1/8" thick.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and place the meat with the baking paper in the oven.
  • Do the same with the rest of the pork.
  • With the oven door open, heat the oven to the lowest setting (mine was 250F) and let the sheet of meat dry in the oven for about 30 minutes.



  • After 30 minutes, the meat should be cooked enough to peel off the baking sheet.
  • Using a pizza cutter, cut the meat into small pieces and peel it off the baking sheet.



  • Mix the honey, food coloring (I used orange, but red is okay too) and water in a small bowl.
  • Brush this mixture over the meat pieces, and let the meat broil in the oven for 10 minutes on each side.
  • Repeat the brush and broil once more. 
  • Let cool, and serve.





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