Thursday, January 16, 2014

Recipe: Bak Kwa (Homemade Chinese Pork Jerky) 肉干

Bak kwa, also known as rougan 肉干is a type of thin square-shaped Chinese sweet-salty dried meat slices similar to jerky. In Malaysia, you can buy it all-year round from specialist shops but it is especially popular during Chinese New Year as a snack. Often, there will be a long queue as the days get closer to the CNY period. This is because bak kwa is translated to long yoke in Cantonese, which means having a robust fortune ahead.

The meat is marinated in a mixture of sugar, soy, honey and more, and then barbecued in the oven to smoky perfection. It certainly is not difficult to make your own, and furthermore you know exactly what goes into your bak kwa (no artificial preservatives!).

This tasted as good as the ones from the shops, and we enjoyed it warm out of the oven. In fact, my family liked it so much that we finished the whole batch that evening. ;) Thanks Sonia for the recipe!

Glistening bak kwa

Homemade Chinese Pork Jerky (Bak Kwa) 肉干
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from NasiLemakLover
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 38-40 minutes
Makes 16 (7cm x 7cm)

450g minced pork (with fats)
100g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tbsp Shaoxing Chinese rice wine
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/8 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
A pinch of white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp honey (or maltose)

For greasing pan
1/2 tsp cooking oil

1. Place all ingredients (except minced pork) in a bowl and mix well. Then, add the minced pork and mix in clockwise direction with a pair of chopsticks until the meat becomes gluey, about 3-4 minutes. You will know it is ready when the meat clings together. Leave to marinate in fridge for 2-3 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 160°C (roast mode). Lightly grease a baking tray (18"x13") with some cooking oil, then  using your fingers, spread the marinated meat thinly (as thinly as you can) onto the baking tray. You will fill about 12"x12" of the tray.

3. Place in preheated oven and bake for about 15-17 minutes, until cooked. Remove from oven, and then change to grill mode (240°C).

4. Using a pizza cutter, cut into desired size. The meat would have shrunk a little (mine was 28cm x 28cm) and I sliced it into (7cm x 7cm) squares. You can also use scissors or sharp knife to cut, but pizza cutter would be easiest.

5. Return tray to the oven and grill about 8 minutes on the top side, then remove from oven and using chopsticks, flip to the other side and grill for a further 8 minutes, or whenever it is golden brown. You will need to watch it closely as it tends to burn very easily at this stage - remove pieces which are already browned and continue cooking the rest.

6. Allow to cool and enjoy. Bak kwa is best enjoyed warm and fresh. Once cooled, you can store in a tupperware, but try to consume within 2-3 days (you can gently heat each piece in a frying pan over medium heat for 2 minutes before consuming).

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  1. I love 'long yoke' and homemade is the best. Yours look very good and delicious :)

  2. Home-made ones are always healthier, you'll never knew what other "ingredients" will be added in for those commercial ones :)

  3. You are so talented, even bak gua also can homemade, thumbs up!

  4. bak kua was a family favourite at my childhood household! my uncles and aunts and cousins would have gleefully eaten your recipe up :D

  5. Making this at home is more healthier and it is baked/grilled and not under the BBQ. Im pleased to see food bloggers making this at home!

  6. It is so easy to make BK at home right? save a lot actually. Thanks for your shout out!

  7. This post is just nice for This month AB theme. Will be nice to have this post in it. Do submit your post to Hear from you soon.

  8. It is my favourite too. I always wanted to make it but end up buying it. After seeing your post, maybe I will make it. Cross my finger.

  9. Thanks for sharing. Appreciate your effort in enlightening us. Wl b making some tdy.

  10. Do I have to include the fish sauce? I don't want to buy a big bottle of fish sauce,my fridge has no room .

    1. Hi Jeanette, I guess you can use more light soy sauce in lieu of the fish sauce.

  11. Replies
    1. I guess you could. I've never tried that before, personally I think it will not affect the taste but maybe some of the pork juices may come out if marinated for too long. If you try it, do feedback n let me know.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!
    I live in Australia and when we try bringing in bk into the country and it always gets thrown out by the customs officers :(
    I made this today and it was so good! All the years of trying to smuggle in bk has been a waste of effort and money (lol)
    Since we can choose what meat we put into it we can make it healthier too.
    I over baked mine and it was burnt :( but now I know what to do next time. :)
    Anyway, this totally made my day, thank you! :)

    1. Sharmaine, the Customs Border Protection people are doing exactly what they are meant to do. Please don't try to smuggle in anything into Australia you are not meant too. We have one of the highest standards in food, pest control and diseases in the world. All because of our strict laws. They are there for a reason. Please - if you want to live in Australia, abide by our laws. This is just one of the things what makes our country so special!!!

  13. Baby Sumo,
    Thanks so much for your post. As a man it's just too much work to make Bak Kwa. I'm going to beg my girlfriend do it for me :) so I don't have to buy them.

    BTW, if you live in California there is a Bak Kwa shop Fragrant Jerky located in Los Angeles their website is but a bit expensive but I was told very good. Your can also order from

  14. Thanks for sharing your recipe. This jerky looks so delicious. Yummy!

  15. Thanks a lot. Happen to be one of my favorite yummy snack and you make it so easy to follow. I'm going to try to make this week.

  16. Thank you for the recipe! Being living out of asia, your recipe is God send. I tried it today with beef and the taste was phenomenon!

  17. Do you have a Chinese written version of this recipe? Thank you


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