Happy Chinese New Year! Especially to three new fans who joined my facebook page this week :) Really spurs me on to update this blog frequently!
Well, technically not yet until the 3rd February this year (which is the year of the rabbit by the way), but preparation for Chinese New Year would have started with lots of chinese families by now. They would include buying lots of chinese new year goodies so we can entertain guests with when they visit us, or to eat ourselves silly.
I'm feeling a bit sad this year because of work commitments that I'm not spending it in Singapore with my family. Going to miss giving Dad ang bao (red packets) and all the nice things that comes with this festival, which is like Christmas all over again.
Well, to boast my spirits up a bit, I decided to have a reunion dinner with my Swedish family here (will post up what we did when it's done ;), have a Chinese New Year theme fika with an international cellgroup, and have a little steamboat-bbq dinner with some good friends here in Sweden on my birthday, which happens to fall on second day of Chinese New Year this year.
Bak Kwa is one of those things that is good to give as gifts during chinese new year, but it's a pain to queue up for if you are a stickler for brand names. Personally, I like the ones from Malaysia better but I decided to make my own this time (actually, I have no choice since no one has come to Sweden visit me yet from Singapore! *hint hint* :P) and consulted a few websites, especially Soy and Pepper's blog on it. However, while the texture and consistency is satisfactory, I find the taste not like the sweet smokey flavor I tasted from a friend who pass me some she had from Singapore. So, I did more research and came across some remarks that it was tried with char siu sauce. Thinking about it makes sense and since I normally make my own char siu sauce, I decided to tweak it a bit and here's my Bak Kwa seasoning recipe, hope you like it too!
Ingredients (for 1.5kg minced pork, you may scale accordingly)
1.5kg minced pork (not too lean)
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
1.5 tablespoon oyster sauce
6 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
3 drops of red food colouring
3 turns of freshly ground black pepper
- Using a small pot, stir all the seasonings together making the sugar has melted into a sticky, thick sauce. Let it cool before adding to the minced pork.
- Stir in the seasoning with a pair of chopsticks in a single direction. Cover and let it marinate overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven at 100°C. Prepare a baking sheet large enough to fit into the oven.
- Take about 500g of minced pork each time (for my standard oven size) and place in the middle of the baking sheet. Cover with a large sheet of plastic or plastic wrap before using your rolling pin to flatten the minced pork into a large thin layer (about 0.5cm in thickness or less). Use a spoon dipped in some cooking oil to smoothed those parts that are uneven.
- Bake at 100°C for 60 minutes with the oven door slightly ajar (which is also the way if you are making your own root vegetable or apple chips). As a precaution in any case the minced meat mixture will secretes any drippings, I had a oven tray resting at the bottom of the oven to catch any for easier cleaning up.
- If you intend to store these pork slices for grilling later, let it cool and wrap each slice individually before freezing them, otherwise turn up the oven to 230°C and grill it on each side for about 5-8 minutes, watching for the sides which may be slightly charred. (I like the charred bits).
- Serve warm or at room temperature, store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.