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