Bakkwa, also known as rougan or Chinese pork jerky is addictively tasty. This recipe will have you happily cooking this super easy and delicious honey glazed snack at home.
Macao wasn’t the first place I had tried bakkwa. I was introduced to this Chinese snack a few years ago by a couple of girlfriends. It was a tiny little shop in the heart of Sydney’s Chinatown.
But it was my trip to Macao last year where my love of this tasty treat was reignited.
Where Does it Originate?
Wildly popular in Singapore, Malaysia, and of course Macao, bakkwa originally comes from China. The place of origin is the Fujian Provence on the Southeastern coast of China.
What is Chinese Pork Jerky?
Chinese style pork jerky is nothing like standard jerky or biltong. Though it can be made from sliced pork, generally it is made using pork mince/ground pork. This gives it a completely different texture to normal jerky.
Often also grilled over coals instead of a slower drying process, giving an addictive smokey sweet flavour.
I should also note that even though pork bakkwa is highly popular, it is also made from other meats. You can find it made from beef, chicken, lamb, and even duck. Plus it comes in a variety of flavours.
Macao’s Street of Jerky Treats
As mentioned it was my trip to Macao that rekindled my love for this meat street snack. If you are in Macao then you need to head to what I call bakkwa central. Here you will find store after store selling the stuff.
Make your way from Senado Square (Largo do Senado) walking up Rua de São Paulo towards the ruins of St Paul’s. As you navigate the street with all the other tourists you will find enthusiastic shopkeepers selling all varieties of this jerky.
They will eagerly provide you with bite size pieces to sample. Take them up on the offer and try a few varieties. Heading from shop to shop it is like a bakkwa buffet. Don’t forget to buy some as well, it is seriously delicious.
The shops come in all shapes and sizes. One of the most popular is Koi Kei Bakery. They specialise in Macanese food souvenirs and sell other popular treats like almond cookies, egg rolls, peanut candy, ginger candy, amongst other things.
The great thing about this bakkwa recipe is the readily available ingredients from your local supermarket, Asian grocer, and butcher. Though there may be one ingredient you aren’t too familiar with…….
Cooking Caramel – Karamel Masakan: This isn’t your run of the mill sweet caramel sauce that you make milkshakes with. The cooking caramel has the consistency of molasses, dark and sticky. A savoury sauce with a mild sweet flavour. Not as salty as soy sauce, with a slight metallic twang.
Recipe Instructions with Pictures
Best to start this recipe the day before as the pork mixture will need to rest in the fridge for at least 8 hours. I find it best to leave it in the fridge overnight.
Preparing the pork mixture is super easy. You simply place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well using a spoon or your hands.
I use my hands as I find it easier to get the sticky glue like consistency that you will need to achieve. It seems to take longer using a spoon. I recommend wearing disposable gloves if mixing with your hands.
Once the pork mixture has had time to develop it’s flavour in the fridge overnight it is time to make your bakkwa.
Split your pork mixture into two portions. Place on portion on a tray lined with baking paper. Flatten the mixture down with wet fingers and then cover with a piece of plastic wrap. With a rolling pin roll out the mixture to 2mm (just over 1/16′) thick.
Remove the plastic wrap and place baking tray in a preheated oven, 160°C (320°F) and bake. You will note that the mixture shrinks slightly when cooked.
Once cool enough to handle cut the cooked pork sheet into pieces. Glaze with honey.
Place pork on rack under the grill. Grill until the bakkwa starts to caramelised and is slightly charred. Flip the bak kwa over on the rack using tongs or a fork.
Be careful not to burn yourself on the hot honey glaze. Brush the unglazed side of the bakkwa with honey and grill until caramelised and slightly charred.
I hope you love making bakkwa at home as much as I do. It is a great tasty treat to have on hand in the fridge.
PIN ME TO MAKE ME LATER
Bak Kwa – Chinese Style Pork Jerky
- large bowl
- Baking Tray 40cm x 30cm (16" x 12")
- Rolling Pin
- Small Microwave Safe Bowl or Small Saucepan
- Pastry Brush
- 500 grams pork mince (ground pork)
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon cooking caramel (karamel masakan)
- 1/8 teaspoon five spice
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Place all ingredients (except the extra honey for the glaze) in a large bowl.
- Use either a large spoon or your hands mix the pork with other ingredients until well combined. The pork will take on a paste or "gluey" texture. The mixture will be quite sticky. If using your hands I suggest wearing disposable gloves.
- Form the pork mixture into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in a clean bowl or container in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
- When you are ready to cook your bak kwa pre-heat the oven 160°C (320°F). Line a 40cm x 30cm (16" x 12") baking tray with baking paper.
- Remove pork mixture from the fridge and separate it into two portions.
- Take one portion of the pork mixture and place it on the lined baking tray. With wet fingers flatten the mixture out slightly.
- Place a large piece of cling wrap on top of the flattened pork mixture. With a rolling pin roll out the mixture until it is around 2mm (just over 1/16') thick.
- Carefully remove the plastic wrap from the rolled out pork and place the baking tray with rolled out pork in the oven.
- Place on the middle shelf of your oven and bake for 15 minutes and then flip the pork sheet over and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Once the baking tray is cool enough (or use a second tray) repeat this process with the second half of the pork mixture.
- Once the cooked pork sheet is cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to cut into snack size pieces. Roughly 6cm x 6cm (1 ½" x 1½") size pieces.
- Line the baking tray with a fresh sheet of baking paper. Place an oven proof rack on top of the tray. This could be a metal cookie cooling rack.
- Place pieces of cut pork sheet on top of the rack.
- Turn the grill on in your oven. You want the grill to be on high.
- Heat honey for glaze in a small bowl in the microwave for a few seconds until liquid. If you don't have a microwave heat over the stove in a small saucepan.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the pork pieces with honey.
- Place pork on tray under the grill. Grill until the bak kwa starts to caramelised and is slightly charred.
- Flip the bak kwa over on the rack using tongs or a fork. Be careful not to burn yourself on the hot honey glaze. Brush the unglazed side of the bak kwa with honey and grill until caramelised and slightly charred.
- Remove from grill and allow to cool.
- Repeat with any remaining pieces of pork.
- When cool place bak kwa in an airtight container and store in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Can be eaten cold or reheated in the oven.