{Spencer Cooks} Vegetarian Mushroom Bao

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I love baos (steamed buns) of all sorts! It’s the one thing I would order when I’m at yumcha. So when I got saw a recipe to make these mushroom looking vegetable buns, I leaped at it!

Before having Spencer, I would never think about making the dough for the steamed buns. But it was just easy peasy and I loved how it turned out! Soft and fluffy, and these are perfect if you’re a vegetarian! I might or might not have stopped at one. haha

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How cute do they look? hehe You would not believe what is the ingredient that the buns are dipped into before steaming them. Any guesses?? COCOA POWDER! I was a bit hesitant to do it, as I wasn’t sure if that would turn the buns sweet. But they didn’t! I couldn’t really taste the chocolate at all. Magical! I was totally amazed!

So here’s the recipe. I hope you’ll try them and let me know what you think!

Vegetarian Mushroom Buns (Recipe by Janice Tung)

Ingredients :

For the filling:

15g vegetable/olive oil

2-3 pieces dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and diced (marinated with 2 tsp of sesame oil, 1 tsp light soy sauce, 1 tsp oyster sauce and 1 tsp sugar)

30g carrots

1 pc seasoned tofu, diced

80g turnip

30g chives, diced and marinated with 2 tsp of oil & a pinch of salt)

1/2 tbs dark soy sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

For the buns :

130g water

20g oil

20 caster sugar

1 tsp instant yeast

250g pau flour (you can get them from asian supermarkets)

pinch of salt

 2-3 tbs cocoa powder

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Method :

  1. To make the filling: In the Thermomix bowl, add the carrots, turnips and chives and chop for 4 seconds/sp 5/ MC on.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients of the filling and cook for 5 mins/ 120C/ Reverse Spoon/ MC on. Set aside. Wash and dry the bowl. IMG_6589-1
  3. To make the buns : Add the water, oil, caster sugar and instant yeast into the bowl. Mix for 1 min/ 37C/ Sp 2/ MC on. Add the pau flour and knead for 2 mins.
  4. Transfer the dough onto a Thermomat/ a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 16 pieces and form into round shapes. Roll into flat pieces. Place 1 heaped teaspoon of filling into each piece and pinch sides together.Wrapping the vegetable bao-1
  5. Have a bowl of water on the side. Dip the bun into the water and then into the cocoa powder. Using a sharp knife, lightly cut a cross (X). Place the buns into the Varoma dish and tray. Allow to proof for 30 minutes. IMG_6600-1
  6. Place 600g of water into the TM bowl, stack the Varoma into position and steam for 18 mins/ Varoma/ Sp 1.

Enjoy it immediately while it’s hot! If you are freezing these, just resteam them for 10 minutes and enjoy them for breakfast or tea!

Follow me on Thermolove to get more inspiration!

Remember to always cook and bake with love!  

{Spencer Cooks} Muah Chee

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I was always someone who loved snacking. Afternoon tea times are a time of the day I look forward to as I get to sit down, have a hot cuppa and something savoury or sweet to just fill my tummy before dinner. There are lots of small snacks that is easily attainable back in Singapore. However, it is a little more difficult to find it here.

So when I chanced upon a Muah Chee recipe, I HAD TO make it! It was the perfect snack for a Sunday afternoon. Muah Chee is a snack that we usually can get from night markets or hawker stalls. Small pieces of glutinous rice balls rolled in a sugar, peanut and/ or black & white sesame mixture! Every bite satisfies both the sweet and savoury craving to be honest! Which is why I love them!

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I couldn’t quite believe how quick and easy it was to make this in the Thermomix. Everything was done and ready to be enjoyed in 20 mins! And I can’t really put the joys of being able to make something from scratch in the comfort of my own home in words! So I will let the pictures do the talking! hehe

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Little nuggets of deliciousness wrapped in a sugary peanut, white and black sesame mixture! SO SO GOOD!

Here’s the recipe for the muah chee. For those who have been craving like me, and to those who’s never tried it before. Please do give it a go! You won’t regret it!

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Muah Chee 

150g roasted peanut (without skin)

30g toasted white sesame

30g toasted black sesame

40g coconut sugar

120g glutinous rice flour

180g water

2 tbs olive oil

1000g water, for steaming

Steps :

In the TM bowl, add the peanuts, half the amount of white & black sesame, and sugar. Chop for 5secs/ Speed 8.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and mix the rest of the sesame seeds. Set aside.

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In the TM bowl, add the glutinous rice flour, water and oil and mix for 1 min/ Speed 6. You should get a smooth flour mixture.

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Pour into a shallow bowl and place the bowl into the Varoma deep tray. Place 1000g of water into the TM bowl and place the Varoma deep tray on top of the lid. Steam the mixture for 15mins/ Varoma/ Speed 3.

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Once steamed, use a teaspoon, scoop and cut into pieces and toss into the peanut & sesame seed mixture. Make sure the glutinous rice balls are coated well.

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Serve and enjoy immediately!

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Hope you will give this a go and let me know what you think! I am salivating just looking at the pictures! Think I will have to make it again this weekend! hehe Have an awesome weekend everyone!

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

{Spencer Cooks} Hainanese Chicken Rice

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One thing I truly miss is the food from back home. So when I got hold of the recipe of Hainanese Chicken Rice from the Taste of Asia Thermomix cookbook, I HAD TO try making it. Of course, I also had to make the dipping sauces, or else it wouldn’t be complete.

Prior to having Spencer, I have made chicken rice before, and it turned out great. But the multilayer cooking does make it a lot easier, and I have to say, the taste definitely doesn’t lose out to cooking it in the traditional way! Plus it was a huge hit with the two boys! hehe HOORAY!

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One thing I cannot do without when having chicken rice is the dipping sauces. Especially this ginger dipping sauce! I usually buy them off the shelf at an asain supermarket, but I love that I am able to make it from scratch and also to get it on the table in about 5 mins!

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Of course, the chilli dipping sauce too!

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This is definitely is and will continue to be the staple in our house. Succulent chicken pieces with flavourful rice, I cannot think of anything that is more comforting for dinner.

I was asked by a customer at a Varoma cooking class recently to post about how I cooked my chicken rice. Sorry it took so long, but here it is! Step-by-step! I hope you all will enjoy it as much as we do!

Hainanese Chicken Rice (Adapted from Taste of Asia)

Ginger Dipping Sauce

120g young ginger, peeled

50g eschalots, peeled

100g vegetable oil

1/2 tsp salt

Steps:

  1. Place ginger and eschalots into the bowl and chop for 5 secs/ Speed 7. Scrape the side of the bowl.dscf5285-1
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend for 20 secs/ Speed 8.dscf5286-1
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cook for 5 mins/100 deg C/ Speed 2. Pour into bowl or mini thermoserver, and set aside to have with Hainanese chicken rice.

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Note : Can be kept in a jar for 1 week or frozen for 3 months.

Chilli Dipping Sauce

100g big red chillies, cut into 3 pieces

20g ginger, peeled

50g garlic, peeled

80g white vinegar

1 tsp salt

1/2 tbs sugar

Steps:

  1. Place chilli, ginger and garlic into the bowl and chop for 5 secs/ Speed 8. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and repeat process for 2 more times.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend for 1 minute / Speed 6.
  3. Add salt and sugar. Pour into a serving bowl or mini thermoserver and set aside.

Hainanese Chicken Rice (Serves 4-6)

2 tsp chinese wine

2 tsp light soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

1 whole chicken (about 1.7kg)

4 cloves of garlic

2 spring onion, cut into half

8 slices of ginger, peeled

4 eschalots, peeled

1 tbs olive oil

300g jasmine rice, rinsed

1.5L chicken stock

2 pandan leaves

A packet of bean sprouts

Fried shallots & thinly sliced spring onion, to garnish

Steps :

  1. Mix the chinese wine, soy and sesame oil in a small bowl and rub it all over the chicken as well as inside the cavity.dscf5297-1
  2. Stuff two cloves of garlic, spring onion, and 4 slices of ginger into the cavity and place into the Varoma dish. Make sure the chicken doesn’t cover all the holes to ensure the steam can be circulated. Set aside. dscf5301-1
  3. Place the remaining garlic, ginger and eschalots and oil into the bowl and sauté for 2 mins/ Varoma temperature/ Reverse, Speed 2. Add the rice and sauté for 2 mins/ 100 deg C/ Reverse, Speed 2. Pour mixture into the steaming basket and place pandan leave in the middle and set aside.dscf5309-1dscf5312-1
  4. Place 1 L of chicken stock into the bowl. Place the steaming basket of sautéed rice into the bowl as well and set the Varoma into position. Steam for 20 mins/ Varoma temperature/ Speed 4. Remove the steaming basket from the bowl, and place the rice into the Thermoserver to keep warm while the chicken continues steaming. dscf5303-1
  5. Top up the bowl with another 500ml of chicken stock. Replace the Varoma back into position and continue cooking for another 30-45 minutes/ Varoma temperature/ Speed 4, depending on the size of your chicken. In the last 10 minutes of steaming, add the bean sprouts around the chicken to steam. dscf5313-1
  6. Mix 3 tsp light soy sauce, 2 tbs of hot water, 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1/4 tsp of sugar in a bowl. Chop up the chicken and pour this sauce over the chicken before serving.

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Garnish with fried shallots and thinly sliced spring onions. Serve with the two dipping sauces prepared and a thick black soy sauce.

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Tuck in and enjoy!

Would love to hear what you think after you’ve tried this! Email me photos of your creation as I would love to see them!

Follow me on Thermolove to get more inspiration!

Remember to always cook and bake with love!  

{Spencer Cooks} Claypot Rice

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Sine I had Spencer, I’ve been trying to convert my favourite recipes into one which I could use the Thermomix to cook in. Why you ask? There is less to wash (just the bowl) and it cooks quicker, without me needing to worry about burning anything!

This is a family favourite and I’ve cooked it in a few different ways. One of the most convenient way is to cook it in the rice cooker. That is before I tried making it using Spencer. hehe Of course, the main reason why people love having claypot rice is because they love the crispy bits at the bottom of the claypot. And yes, using the Thermomix won’t give you that result, but you can easily transfer everything into a claypot after it’s cooked and cook it over the stove for another 5 mins on high heat.

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The flavour though is still as delicious and with all my other dishes, it’s just full of wholesome ingredients. Every mouthful has a bit of chicken, chinese sausage, rice, shiitake mushrooms, fried shallots and spring onion. What’s not to love?

So here’s the steps to cooking it in a Thermomix if you have one, if not just click on the link about to make it in your rice cooker (:

Ingredients:

350g chicken thigh, cut into small chunks

200g jasmine rice

2 chinese sausages (lup cheong), sliced thinly

2 chinese liver sausages (optional), slice thinly

8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic

1 small onion (60-80g)

2 inch ginger, peeled and cut into coins

20g olive oil

900g water

For the marinade:

20g sesame oil

10g tamari/soy sauce

20g oyster sauce

20g dark sauce

10g black vinegar

10g shaoxing wine

pinch of ground white pepper

2 spring onions, finely sliced

fried shallots, to serve

thick dark sauce, to serve

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Steps :

  1. In your Thermomix bowl, place the garlic, onion & ginger and chop for 5 secs/sp 5/MC on. Scrape sides and add olive oil. Saute for 3 mins/100 degrees/reverse/sp 1/MC on.

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2. Add the chinese sausage and liver sausage, if using, and sauté for 2 mins/100 degrees/reverse/sp1/MC off. Then add the shiitake mushrooms and sauté for a further 3 mins/100degrees/reverse/sp 1.

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3. Add the chicken thigh pieces as well as the marinade and stir fry for 5 mins/100 degrees/reverse/spoon.

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4. Insert steaming basket into the bowl and weigh out 200g of jasmine rice. Rinse the rice under running water then toss it into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Fry the mixture for 1 1/2 mins/100 degrees/reverse/spoon. Place the steaming basket on a bowl, then carefully pour the rice & meat mixture into the steaming basket.

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5. Without rinsing the bowl, place the steaming basket into the bowl and pour the sauce back into the bowl, as well as 900g of water. Cook the rice for 25 mins/Varoma/sp4/MC on, stopped at 15 mins to give it a stir using your spatula.

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6. Once it’s done, you can pour it into your thermoserver, and top it with the sliced spring onion and fried shallots and a swirl of thick dark sauce. If you prefer the crispy bits, place the cooked rice into a claypot and cook it over high heat for 5-10 mins, keeping a close eye to make sure it doesn’t burn. Then top it with spring onion, fried shallots and thick dark sauce when serving.

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ENJOY!

{Spencer Cooks} Gula Melaka Kaya

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For those who follow me on Instagram (@lianneelow) you would know I have a new baby. A machine baby haha My dearest mr has got me the dream machine of my life – A thermomix! I was so so excited when I placed my order and couldn’t wait for it to arrive! I have to admit, I’ve always wanted one. But gave it a pass cos of two main reasons – 1) the cost and 2) I already have a whole range of machines in my small kitchen. But having it for the past 2 weeks, I think I can now sell my other machines (besides my kitchenaid hehe)!

Spencer

So everyone, meet Spencer! (: Don’t ask me how I came up with the name. It just came to me when I got it. So Spencer it is! I’ve not stopped using it since it arrived! And don’t you worry, I will be sharing the recipes I’ve tried (and some original recipes, hooray!) with all of you! hehe

The very first thing I’ve made is  recipe I’ve been wanting to make for ages. I kept it in my “in case I get a thermomix folder” haha Gula Melaka Kaya (Coconut jam)! YUM! Living in Singapore, our breakfast staple is hot and crispy kaya toast with a cup of hot tea/coffee, with a side of half-boiled eggs! Seriously the best start to the day! So I was really excited to make it so we could have that in Melbourne too!

Piggy currant buns with kaya

Lochlan was super lucky and loved to get some delicious soft and fluffy piggy buns from The Bakeanista (check her blog out! She makes the most amazing bread!) and I too had some with the kaya that I made! Perfect combination! Mmmmmm (:

So here is the recipe for the Gula Melaka Kaya that Spencer made!

{Spencer Cooks} Gula Melaka Kaya (Coconut Custard Jam, Recipe from Thermomix Recipe Community)

250g Gula Meleka

3 egg yolks, large

1 whole egg

250g coconut cream (I used Kara carton)

3 fresh pandan leaves, tied into a knot

Steps :

Milling the gula melaka

1) Break the gula melaka into ice-cubed sized pieces before putting them into the thermomix. Mill the gula melaka, speed 10/10secs.

Milled gula melaka

2) Add egg yolks and egg, mix speed 3 until the sugar has dissolved. Using the spatula, scrape the base to make sure all the sugar has dissolved.

Add the egg and egg yolks

3) Cook for 10 mins/90 degrees/Speed 3.

4) Add coconut cream and pandan knot into the mixture, cook for 45 minutes/100 degrees/reverse/Speed 3. Leaving the MC out allowing the steam through.

Adding coconut cream and pandan knot

5) Check the consistency of the kaya, it should be thick, glossy and smooth. If it’s not thicken, repeat step 4 for another 10 minutes. Allow it to cool then place into glass jars/jam jars and keeps well  in the fridge for 2-3 weeks!

Kaya ready!

I was surprised that it wasn’t the deep dark brown kaya I was looking for. But it was still thick, glossy and absolutely delicious! I have also collected more kaya recipes and will be trying them again soon! So stay tuned for the comparison!

Piggy currant bun

Remember to have it with some toast/bun and a cup of hot coffee/tea! (:

Have a great Hump Day everyone and remember to always cook and bake with love!

Ramen Bankara

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I have to admit. I am quite a ramen lover. A bowl of hot soup that is bursting with flavour and springy noodles, who wouldn’t like that? But a good bowl of ramen is hard to find and because I haven’t had a bowl of ramen from Japan, I have nothing really to compare to. But I know a good broth and a yummy bowl of noodles when I have one!

When Thanh (I Eat Therefore I Am) asked me if I wanted to stuff my face with ramen at Ramen Bankara and other deliciousness on a cold night, there was no way I would turn that down! Thankfully, the Mr took Lochlan into the gym with him that night, and I could head to the tasting event without a worry!

Ramen Bankara

Shop G047, 619 Doncaster Road

Doncaster Westfield Shopping Centre

Menu for the night

It’s been more than a year since the last blogger event I attended, so I was really quite excited. I also got to catch up with some friends which I haven’t met for quite some time! I also got a chance to meet some new ones, which is always a plus!

Agedashi toufu

We started off the evening with some entrees! The Agedashi tofu has always been a dish I love to have when dining at a Japanese restaurant. These deep fried tofu were crispy on the outside and silky smooth on the inside, sitting in a bowl of hot dashi broth and topped with bonito flakes! I love how the bonito flakes always look like they come alive when they are on a dish. Definitely mad some people squirm! hehe Ok back to the tofu, these were definitely a great start to the night!

Gyoza

We also had some gyoza (panfried dumplings) and tori karaage (crispy fried chicken)!

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Oh boy were these fried chicken good! Really well seasoned, crispy on the outside and it was really juicy & tender too! Couldn’t stop at one but had to save tummy for the bowls of ramen to come!

Tonkotsu ramen

First up – my favourite for the night – Tonkotsu ramen! This rich and creamy pork bone broth that was slow cooked for 12 hours! This is the premium bowl which comes with the works  – kanuni (braised pork belly), black fungus, pork cha shu, ajitsuki tamago (seasoned boiled egg, which was served on a side for this bowl), bamboo shoots & seaweed! I seriously wanted another bowl of this broth, not to mention the springy Hakata style noodles!

Ramen Bankara

This was the signature Ramen Bankara – The pork broth is infused with the shoyu (soy sauce) and has a hint of sweetness. A great balance of salty and sweet.

Chuka soba

This was something new to me – Chuka soba. The broth is a unique blend of seafood and pork which made it really rich in flavour. There is also a spicy version of this dish for those who enjoy an extra kick! Also, aren’t those tamagos just gorgeous?

Tamgo

They were perfectly cooked, with a molten yolk centre and seasoned really well! We were lucky to have one whole egg to ourselves that night!

Tsukemen

The Tsukemen definitely left a good impression on my tongue and belly that night! It was really different from the usual bowl of ramen I’ve had. Instead the springy noodles were served cold in this dish with a bowl of piping hot broth that is rich and peppery!Tsukemen noodles

So the idea is like having a bowl of cha soba! You dip the cold noodles into the hot broth and slurp away! This would be a perfect dish for the hotter months to come. Definitely heading back for these soon!

Lemon sorbet

After all the savouries I had for the night, and not to mention how full I was, we were served with a couple of desserts. First up was this tangy lemon sorbet that was seriously addictive! I found myself digging my spoon in for more and it kinda cleansed my palette a little!

Trio of ice-cream

Last but not the least, ice cream! A trio of ice-cream – green tea, black sesame and vanilla. The black sesame was a crowd pleaser and the green tea was a perfect balance of the bitterness of the matcha and the sweetness of the ice-cream. A perfect way to end the night!

Thank you to Thanh again and Ramen Bankara for having us and serving us all the delicious dishes for the night! It was an absolute ball and I haven’t laughed so much for a long time! So if you’re looking for a good bowl of ramen, do head to Ramen Bankara and definitely give that bowl of Tonkatsu a go! You won’t regret it!

I was invited to Ramen Bankara by Thanh of I Eat Therefore I Am. All thoughts and opinions are based on my experience at the time of the visit. Thank you so much for this wonderful experience and opportunity!

Ramen Bankara Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Galloping into the Year of Horse with Homemade Bak Kwa

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Happy Lunar New Year my dear readers! (: So sorry for the lack of posts! I’ve been back in Singapore and spending as much time as I could with my family. But I’m back and ready to share lots with you, so please hang in there with me. I promise to make your time worthwhile!

I’m not sure what your traditions are for Chinese New Year, but for me, it’s about coming together as a family and feast on delicious food! Of course it’s not always about food, it’s also about spending time with your loved ones and just reminescing on the good things from the past year, setting goals for the new one!

There are many different kinds of Chinese New Year goodies that we love to eat. Lucky for me, I got to eat my fair share before I flew back to Melbourne. But there is one that I didn’t quite get to have and also sadly, we aren’t allowed to bring it back cause it’s meat. BAK KWA! It’s like a chinese pork jerky that is sweet and salty and just delicious!

homemade bak kwa

Singaporeans really do love their bak kwa, and many would actually queue for hours to get some! So instead of queueing (plus I don’t think I can get any that are similar to those back home), I decided to try making them this year!

The best thing about this is that you can freeze it and just grill it when you feel like having some! Trust me. Once you have a bite, you would definitely want to keep some in your freezer. These are so addictive! So give them a go, you won’t regret it!

Homemade Bak Kwa (adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover)

Ingredients :

900g mince pork

130g caster sugar

2 tbs light soy sauce

1 tbs shaoxing wine

2 tbs oyster sauce

1 1/2 tsp thick dark soy

1/4 tsp five spice powder

Ground white pepper

1 tbs honey

Steps :

1) Marinade the mince pork a day before you intend to make it. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and mix with a pair of chopsticks.

Marinating the mince pork

Stirring the mixture in one direction

2) Make sure you stir it in one direction and until the mixture becomes gluey. Do make sure it’s gluey as it will allow the meat to stay as one piece after being baked. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place it in the fridge overnight or for at least 3 hours.

Gluey mixture

3) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Spread the marinated pork mince thinly onto the baking tray using a spatula.

pork mince mixture spread onto baking tray

4) Bake the pork mince for 15 mins and remove it from the oven. Allow it to cool slightly before cutting it into desired shape and size using scissors or a pizza cutter. If you intend to freeze it, allow them to cool completely before placing them in a zip lock bag and freeze it up to 2 weeks.

baked and cut

5) Turn the grill on at 240 degrees Celcius and grill one side for 5 mins before flipping and grilling the other side for a further 5 mins, until the meat is golden brown or slightly charred on the sides. Let is cool down (it actually tastes better the day after it’s grilled!) and enjoy! (:

homemade bak kwa

So you ready to make some bak kwa? You’ll love it for sure! Have a prosperous year of the horse everyone!!

Remember to always cook and bake with love.