Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Organic Chicken Jerky (Bak Kwa) - Make Your Own

To satisfy my craving for one of my favorite Chinese New Year savory goodies, I had to make my own Jerky (肉干, Bak Kwa). I did not realize how easy it was until I tried making it. I did not even have to plan ahead. Bought the only ingredient I need (ground meat) when I was shopping for my weekly groceries in Whole Foods Market. As I was not making a huge batch, I chose good quality Organic Ground Chicken Thigh Meat (from Whole Foods Market) that has some fats in it (perfect!). Who wants some Organic Chicken Jerky (Bak Kwa) ?

Spot on! The seductive irresistible savory and sweet combination inherent in Bak Kwa was definitely prevalent. Most importantly, allow the caramelization to happen, which not only intensifies the sweetness of the marinated jerky, but also imparts some charred flavors - all to come through and balance the natural fresh flavors of organic chicken and savory soy seasoning. Seriously, for once, I never felt any guilt eating Bak Kwa, as I know the source of my ingredients and how I make them healthier without sacrificing taste.

Had to do without fish sauce since I do not have that handy and surely, this is not my make-or-break ingredient. It is time to experiment and taste the outcome of Organic Chicken Jerky (Bak Kwa) with my pantry-handy seasonings: soy sauce, brown sugar and honey. It works!

I adapted the recipe from Little Inbox slightly and it tasted wonderful. Definitely, these are homemade flavors because of good quality ingredients, nifty cooking tips (refer to Note, Note1) and healthier cooking method (having them baked in the oven).

Organic Chicken Jerky (Organic Chicken Bak Kwa), adapted from Little Inbox
Ingredients: 1/3 lb (150gm) organic ground chicken; [seasonings] 1tbsp light soy sauce; 3 tsp brown sugar; few squirts of honey; 1/2tbsp cooking wine; 1-2tsp canola oil

Directions: Mix all the seasonings in a bowl. Add 3/4 of seasonings (keep remaining in a bowl) into ground chicken; add in cooking wine, canola oil. Mix and combine well in a separate bowl, marinating the ground chicken, set aside for about 15-20mins. Preheat oven 350deg F. Lay the marinated chicken onto parchment paper lining a flat baking tray. Use another parchment paper* as the "tool" (or acting like a "glove") to press down the chicken, flat and thin. Bake at 350degF for about 15-20mins (Note: Do not cover the ground chicken with *parchment paper when baking). (Note1:At the halfway mark, remove tray from oven, brush the chicken with remaining seasoning + more squirts of honey; turn chicken jerky over on the parchment paper, then brush with more seasonings + more squirts of honey - this ensures more caramelization at the surface due to the honey and sugar). Send it back to oven with other side up and continue baking for the rest of 20 mins.

Love it!

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year to all!

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