Singapore Jerky

Photograph of cooked sheet of jerky, sliced into individual serving pieces.
Photograph of raw jerky, ready for cooking as individual pieces.

Bakkwa, or ròu gān (肉干), is a Hokkien delicacy popular in Singapore and South East Asia.

It takes some time to prepare, but in terms of the cost of the ingredients, it's far cheaper than commercial products, and the recipe can be adjusted to one's personal taste.

Marinate

  1. In a large bowl, thoroughly crush and grind into a paste:
    • 1 fillet — Anchovie.
    • ½ tsp — Salt.
    • 1 Tbs — Sugar.
  2. Add and mix:
    • 1 cup (less the 1 Tbs) — Sugar
    • ½ tsp — 5-Spice
    • 1 tsp — Sesame Oil
    • 2 Tbs — Rice Wine
    • 2 Tbs — Soy Sauce
    • 2 Tbs — Molasses
  3. Add and mix into a paste, leaving no identifiable meat lumps:
    • 2 Lb — Raw Ground Beef
  4. Cover and marinate in refrigerator several hours or overnight.

Dry

  1. Remix, and divide into 4 portions.
  2. For each portion:
    1. Cut parchment paper large enough to cover a baking tray.
    2. With paper on counter, spread paste into 8" by 12" rectangle.
    3. Transfer onto upside-down baking tray.
    4. Leave in 150-175°F oven for an hour.

Store

(At this stage it might not be fully cooked; treat it as raw meat.)

Serve

Suggestions

The thorough crushing of the anchovie and mixing of the beef is important: meat lumps will not cook uniformly, and the anchovie is intended to add a subtle flavour, not to be an identifiable surprise when eaten.

The spreading of the paste could be done with a rolling pin and another parchment paper, or by hand with a fork or spoon. Making it uniformly thin and with straight edges is the goal.

Rather than preparing as one large sheet to be sliced after drying, the raw mixture can be divided into individual pieces before cooking as shown in photo.