Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sweet Meat or Bak Kwa

I am glad I tried out making my own sweet meat instead of joining the queue to buy some for cny.
It turned out quite well and it wasn't that difficult to make as I had perceived initially.

What I like about being able to make my own is that I can control the saltiness and sweetness and even the flavour.

As it was my first attempt at it, I referred to two recipes which I got from two blogs and tweaked it. I added, subtracted and omitted some ingredients.

The result was quite good but still not there yet in terms of flavour like those commercially produced. I realised that could probably be due to the grilling part. I used a grill pan to 'burn' my sweet meat whereas those sold were grilled over charcoal which gave a distinctive charcoal burnt flavour. Another observation made was that my sweet meat didn't have that lovely 'red' tint as those store-bought. I found out the reason after googling around. Commercially produced sweet meat has 'pink salt' or sodium nitrite added to it. It acts as a preservative as well as gives the meat a nice red or pink shade! I don't think I would want to have that in my sweet meat. As long as what I am doing is good and healthy and cost-saving, I'm truly satisfied.

The Recipe (tweaked)

1 kg minced pork (used 800g minute steak or eye round and 150g belly pork for some fat)
Minute steak or eye round is the second best part to the premium cut of fillet pork. You can use shoulder pork which also suitable.

The Seasoning:

2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

200g sugar

2 tablespoons Chinese wine (used shaoxing wine)

1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder (will reduce this the next time as I find it a little overpowering)
a pinch of 5-spice powder

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

a few drops of red food colour

1. Mix all the above-mentioned ingredients together.

2. Place minced meat in a bowl and mix with the seasoning thoroughly using chopsticks or a cake mixer. To test if more sauce or sugar is required, microwave a small piece of meat already seasoned to taste.

3. Wrap seasoned meat in cling wrap and refrigerate for the night.

4. Take a portion and place it on parchment paper. Place a plastic sheet(to prevent sticking) over the meat and use a rolling pin to spread the meat evenly, about 4mm thickness, to form a rectangle. Do the same for the rest until all the meat is used up. Make sure the size of the rectangle fits the baking tray.

5. Place the parchment paper with the rolled meat onto a baking tray which is turned upside down.

6. Place the tray in a preheated oven 80 to 100 deg C to 'dry' and firm up the meat. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. If the oven heat is too high, the meat will be thoroughly cooked.
As long as the meat is firm to the touch and doesn't break off easily when handled, it's done.

7. Remove the layer of meat from the parchment paper when cool. Cut to size or shape. Wrap with cling wrap and refrigerate if not grilling immediately.

8. Grilling can be done on a grill pan or in an oven. If you are using the oven, remember to line your tray before grilling for easy cleaning.

Using a knife to spread the meat before rolling

A plastic sheet over the meat before using the rolling pin

Out of the oven after the meat is firm to the touch

Removed from the parchment paper and cut to size

The yummiest part - all nicely grilled and ready to pop into the mouth!
It is tender because of the cut of meat used.

I will attempt this again and make different flavours - spicy, black pepper and fruity!


  1. Judy, You are so clever can make your own Bak Kwa. They look delicious, next time can take order liao!

  2. Yours look pretty much like store bought. So nicely grilled but definitely a more healthy version.

  3. I wanted to try a spicy version but afraid that my girls won't be able to eat much. But then, they can eat a little spicy food.

  4. Wow,Judy I am impressed! They look really good! Next year, no need to buy bak kwa anymore! Yeah!

  5. This is beckoning me to try making my own bak twa too! happy cny!

  6. hey Judy,

    this looks great! I have thought of making my own bak kwa but it involves quite a bit of work. I guess I am too lazy to put my words into action.

    There is always the sense of satisfaction when making homemade goodies. Besides, chemical additives and preservatives are always well under control.

  7. Hi Doris,
    I am sure you can do it. Quite a number of fellow bloggers did their own bak kwa! It's easy. Cheaper than buying.

    Hi Wen,
    Super healthy with very little fat. Couldn't stop eating!

    Hi Little Corner of Mine,
    How about making some spicy and non-spicy? Your girls can enjoy it too!

    Hi Shirley,
    Very unlikely to buy any. I like what I've done!

    Hi Noobcook,
    You should try it. After that you won't want to buy any! Happy cny to you too!

    Hi ZY,
    You make great tarts and I'm sure you'll make your bak kwa well!

  8. Judy, that's so cool! and is much healthier compared to store bought ones (: (: my family and i dont eat pork. so if i replace it with chicken, which part of chicken should i buy? thank you! (:

  9. Wow...your bak kwa looks really delicious. I would love to make, too. Looks quite easy to make. I'm bookmarking this to try. Thanks very much for sharing.

  10. Hi Jasmine,
    Thanks for dropping by. Yes, you can make chicken sweet meat. Any part of the chicken is definitely more tender than pork. A mixture of thigh and breast would do fine. Happy making!

    Hi Mary,
    I have no regrets making it. You can try out flavouring yours differently. The options are plentiful!

  11. Your bak kua loops perfect. I have a similar recipe but I must try yours soon.

  12. Lovely bak kwa you made. It's more healthy when you make your own. I did make this before but couldn't stand the barbecuing part, too hot and tedious. Next time I mail order from you!

  13. Home-made bak kwa - WOW! I think my hubby will be very very impressed if I ever attempt this! We love bak kwa and have it between two slices of white bread - BLISS!

  14. Your bak kwa looks delicious. My hubby is a big fan of bak kwa. I have to try making it with your recipes. Thanks!

  15. Judy, I am so impressed. You make your own bak kwa ... next year I order from you can??

  16. Hi Jo,
    Not pro yet. Still in its infancy stage! :)

  17. hmm I didn't know we can make our own bak kwa until I have seen how you have done so in your blog. Home-made is definitely thumbs up... great job

  18. WOW!!!!! so this is how its done! beautiful. I lOVE food made literally from scratch. Its sucha challenge and comforting to know that you know exactly what when in and what didn't! Such a good job you did. Do they also do this with beef? Or is it only dome with pork?

  19. Hi Olivia,
    It's quite easy to do. Why don't you try it?

    Hi Zurin,
    Yup, you can do it with beef or chicken. Maybe, the seasoning has to be stronger for beef. I am sure you won't have any problem coming up with your own version. Looking forward to your version.

  20. I made bak kwa once a few years back but never again as I find it too time consuming. And given the fact that bak kwa is so easily available in Sgp, I tend to be lazy to make it again. After looking at your pics, I'm so tempted to make it again.


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