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Sunday, 22 January 2017

Chinese Sweet Meat Jerky (Yoke Kon/Bak Kwa) For Chinese New Year.

Two years ago, just a few days before Chinese New Year 2015 celebration, I tried my hand at making the Chinese sweet meat Jerky which is a dried meat snack. It turned out a bit too salty for our liking and I didn't have the time to improve on it. Last week (two years later), I was suddenly inspired to try making these sweet meat Jerky again after visiting Small Kucing's blog. I dug out the old recipe (I can't remember from which source), checked the ingredients and went to buy the minced meat the next morning.

This Chinese sweet meat Jerky is called "Yoke Kon" in Cantonese or "Bak Kwa" in Hokkien. This sweet meat is sweet and slightly salty in taste. In my younger days, I remembered eating the sweet meat that was made from thinly sliced meat but these has been replaced by the minced meat (lean and fat meat) version which is much softer in texture. The sweet meat we bought from stores are grilled over charcoal fire. Most home made sweet meat are of a healthier version with the amount of fat and sugar reduced and are baked and grilled in electric oven.

Instead of pork, you can also use minced chicken, beef or mutton. If total lean meat is used, the texture will be more dry and not so soft. For me, I used minced pork belly and I asked our regular pork seller to give me the least fatty part.
For this first trial batch, the sweet meat turn out alright. I grilled a few pieces to taste but I found it too sweet and hubby mentioned that it was too thick.
I went out Friday morning to get another 2 packets of 500 gm of minced meat.
This time I made further changes to the recipe.
I added the following ingredients to the minced meat:

500 gm minced meat (I used minced pork)
80 gm of brown sugar (reduced to suit our taste)
1 tbsp light soya sauce
1/3 (one third) tsp dark soya sauce (I prefer a lighter shade)
1 tbsp oyster + dried scallop sauce (I only have this in my fridge)
1.5 tbsp Chinese Shao Hsing cooking wine (increased for extra oomph)
About 2 dashes of 5 spice powder (ng heong fun)
About 1/3 (one third) tsp white pepper.
About 3/4 (three quarter) tsp salt
2 tbsp honey.
(The original recipe has Fish Oil. I didn't use fish oil because I just discarded an expired bottle of fish oil which I bought 2 years ago and I didn't want to buy another bottle again).
 Mix thoroughly the minced meat with all the ingredients until the mixture started to stick together and becomes gluey.
 Then I transferred the minced meat mixture into a bowl, covered it and leave it in the refrigerator to marinate for a few hours. If you want, you can even leave it overnight in the fridge.
 First preheat the oven about 150 - 160 deg. C, depending on your oven. (For the trial batch, I place all 500 gm of mince meat mixture into a baking tray measuring 14 x 14 inches.) Meanwhile I divide the minced meat into 2 portion for a thinner layer of sweet meat to bake in a smaller tray. Slowly spread out and press the mixture with your clean fingers, folk or spoon, whichever you prefer.
Bake in the preheated oven with both top and bottom heat for about 10 to 12 minutes. The minced meat layer will shrink away from the sides of the tray.
Remove from oven, let it cool down a little and then use a pizza cutter to cut into 6 or 9 pieces as you wished. Meanwhile preheat oven to 210 - 230 deg. C. with only the top heat for grilling.
Place the tray of cut pieces of meat back into the preheated oven. Grill meat pieces for about 8 minutes. If grilled too long, it might be burnt at the edges. 
 Take out the tray and turn over the meat pieces. Place the tray back into the oven for another 8 minutes. Watch out because the thin layer get burnt easily at the edges. Lower the temperature and shorten the time for thinner layer.
 Once done, it can be left to cool in the oven or removed from the oven.
 Once cooled transfer the meat pieces onto a plate or container.
For these thinner pieces of sweet meat, I get double the amount.
 Some like it thick, some like it thin.
Home made sweet meat does not have preservative. You can either freeze the sweet meat after the baking and thaw them to grill whenever you want. You can also grill them first, then reheat them after taking out from the fridge.
 At last, I am quite happy and satisfied with my sweet meat recipe.
I might reduced the sugar amount when I make this again in future.
My regular sweet meat shop has just lost one of its customer.
This sweet meat is usually eaten on its own or sandwiched between 2 slices of bread or plain bun. Some eat it with hot Chinese tea and some eat it with a glass of wine.

Don't drink too much wine, for many evils lie along that path;

be filled instead with the Holy Spirit and controlled by him.

Ephesians 5:18, The Living Bible-TLB)

46 comments:

  1. Nancy...that's an impressive achievement. I've never tried making them at home. The last time I had bak kwa was on our visit to Macau and it was a bit pricey but so so delicious:) Thank you for showing how you do it...looks easy..perhaps I have to try too, once I've gathered the ingredients. Happy Chinese new year to you and your family. All the best!

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    1. Thank you, Annie. Home made is always much cheaper. You can easily do it. All the best to you too!

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  2. That's a lot of work, but it is for a special occasion. I'm glad your second try was a success.

    Have a fabulous day, Nancy. ☺

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    1. Thank you, Sandee. Looks like a lot of work but actually quite simple. Have a great day!

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  3. This sounds interesting...I had a friend that made jerky and it was delicious. But she used beef sliced super thin.

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    1. Thank you, Rose. I have tasted chicken and pork but have had the chance to taste the beef sliced Jerky. Have a good day!

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  4. I have not tried using minced chicken, maybe after CNY and in the mood, will try it...

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    1. Hope you will try and share with us whether you prefer chicken or pork.

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  5. Replies
    1. Thank you, Gosia. Have a great day!

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  6. It turned out really great, Nancy.

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    1. Thank you, Angie. I am so glad it did!

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  7. WA... Great achievement..I like our homemade version...easy to make and taste delicious :)

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    1. These are really delicious. And we made it according to our taste.

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  8. Replies
    1. Thank you, Linda. Have a wonderful day!

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  9. I'm glad that you were able to make it the way you like!

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    1. Thank you, Tom. I can refer to this recipe in future. Have a good week!

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  10. Interesting post my dear, thank you for sharing :-)

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    1. Thank you, Beauty. Have a great week!

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  11. Looks wonderful I was thrilled for you that you got the result you wanted. All the work was worth it in the end.

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    1. Thank you, Mamas. It may not be the perfect recipe but good enough for my family. Have a lovely week!

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  12. I wish I could taste it! I think we have nothing here like it here. The closest may be beef jerky, but this looks a lot better than that. This takes a lot of patience and work! But it turned out so well!

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    1. Thank you, Ginny. I haven't taste beef jerky but these pork jerky are very tasty. Have a wonderful week!

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  13. That sounds like quite a bit of work!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It sounds like but actually its quite simple and easy. Have a fantastic week!

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  14. Thanks for being my Sifu, Nancy!

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    Replies
    1. You are most welcome. Now you will be Sifu to someone else. Ha ha...

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  15. I tried making once, but the fish sauce smell was rather obvious in the recipe. And as usual if I make something that is not nice, I have to eat everything by myself and that is a big deterrent for a next time!

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    1. I am not a fan of fish sauce too. I didn't add any fish sauce this round and nobody missed it. Have a wonderful week!

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  16. I've wondered what to do with meat and this is a great idea. :)222

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    1. I hope you like the way it is prepared. Have a great week!

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  17. Yummy recipe.. thanks for sharing..

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    1. Thank you, Krishna. Have a lovely week!

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  18. Your bak kwa looks great, just like store bought but better!

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    1. Thank you, Phong Hong. You are so kind. Have a fantastic week!

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  19. Looks really good and better than shop bought ones because you know what goes into the meat when you make it yourself.

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    1. Thank you, Mun. For sure we know the ingredients are fresh and cleaner too. Have a good week!

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  20. Replies
    1. Thank you, dear and you are most welcome. Have a wonderful week!

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  21. Not something I would like but think Tim would like it

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    Replies
    1. I think those who like sweet meaty snacks will love this. Have a good week!

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  22. It looks so deliciously sweet Nancy! I think I need to save up too for an oven.

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    1. Thank you, Lei. Even a small oven can do great things. Have a lovely day!

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