This is another must have snack for Chinese New Year. Who doesn’t like Bak Kua? Maybe if you are a health nut than you might stay away from it. For me Chinese New Year is the time to indulge into all the sinful food, cookies and other luxury snacks that we don’t eat often. Bak Kua variously translated as dried meat, grilled Chinese Pork Jerky or BBQ meat slices.
Back in Malaysia you can get this jerky all year round but strangely, most people will eat this only during CNY. Many people are willing to queue for hours during this time of the year just to get their hands on the BBQ meat from their favorite store. My family is very picky over our bak kua. We only eat the bak kua from a certain store and it has to be lean and doesn’t have the rancid porky smell.
Living here I don’t have the luxury of eating Malaysia Bak Kua. I am able to buy them in New York but they do not taste good at all. They claimed to be made by Malaysian but it just doesn’t have the taste of the one from home. I tried making this once but it didn’t turn out too well either. It was too oily (because of the fatty ground pork) and the taste was out. I didn’t like it at all. So I stay away from making this for a few years.
I tried making it again this year by tweaking the recipe and lo and behold, it turns out really good. The meat was well marinate, a great balance of sweet and savory with a hint of fruity orange. I used mostly lean meat and I made everything in the oven. No more grilling it outside in the super cold winter. You should see me when I first made this. I was standing at the grill in my heavy winter clothing. My neighbors must be thinking this woman was MAD ha ha… If you want a healthier bak kua with no chemicals and preservatives why not try to make it at home. Since this bak Kua has no preservatives, try to consume it within a few days. I don’t recommend you make too much of it at one time unless you want to give it away to family and friends. These keeps well in the fridge and just reheat it in the toaster oven before consuming.
2 pounds ground pork –with a bit of fat on it
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
Juice of half orange (about 4 tbsp)
Zest of one orange
1. Line 2 baking pan with heavy aluminum foil and set it aside.
2. Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a big spoon mix it really well. Cover with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the fridge for an hour.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degree F. Spread the marinate meat thinly onto the baking sheets. Use a spatula or the back of the spoon to do this and dipping it in water occasionally. This way it will prevent the meat from sticking to the spoon or spatula.
4. Place the baking pan in the oven and let it bake slowly for 15-20 minutes. At this stage you can see juices appear, the meat will shrink and the edges dry out.
5. Remove from oven and cool it down a bit and cut it into square with pizza cutter or scissors. Turn the oven to broil.
6. Line the cut meat back on the tray. Broil the meat on both side until brown and sizzle . This will only take 5-6 minutes (you have to watch this as it turn dark pretty fast)
7. Let it cool and keep it in an air-tight container.
Note: I put a bit too much of black soy sauce that is why the bak kua look a bit dark. I already adjust the quantity of the black soy sauce in the recipe. If you like to grill this, you can do so. Just cut and grill it after step 5.