Ah, bak kwa. The quintessential Chinese New Year snack. If you’re like me and you are absolutely obsessed with bak kwa, you probably have a lot of bak kwa stashed away at home in preparation for the fast-approaching holiday.
Maybe a bit too much bak kwa?
(Unless you haven’t gotten your bak kwa yet because you’re a responsible citizen who wants to avoid crowding and queuing? That’s easy then: buy your bak kwa online this year!)
Worry not, for if you’ve grown sick of inhaling bak kwa with your relatives for days during CNY (inhale your bak kwa and not the virus, please: here are some ways to stay safe during house visitations), you can revitalise the snack even after CNY—the sheer deliciousness of bak kwa transcends CNY anyways.
Here are 8 fun ways to experiment with leftover bak kwa for an infinitely fun and prosperously tasty CNY.
1. Bak Kwa Fried Rice
This is a great recipe if you have both leftover bak kwa and fried rice, since many recipes recommend using fried rice that has been refrigerated overnight for best results. Of course, it’d be equally as delicious with freshly cooked fried rice.
Fried rice is probably one of the most essential dishes in any household. Adaptable and easy to make, this would be a great fuss-free dish to make for lunch after a long night of hearing your relatives chitter and chatter.
The fun part about fried rice is that you can add whatever you want to it and just stir-fry it. Common ingredients could include eggs, spring onions, frozen vegetables like carrots, peas, and corn, and Chinese sausage. Throw in some bak kwa for that extra sweetness to your rice, and your fried rice will taste heavenly.
(This dish is writer-approved: I just had it for dinner last night. Yum.)
For a bak kwa fried rice recipe, click here.
2. Italian-Chinese Fusion Dishes
While it does suck that travel is impossible this year because of the pandemic, and the global aviation industry will remain hard-hit for a few more years, who’s to say that you can’t enjoy foreign cuisine? Food is a gateway to the world, after all.
For Europe-lovers and fusion cuisine foodies, try these classic Italian staples—with a lovely Chinese twist. Sprinkling on some bak kwa onto your homemade Italian-style dinner will create a scrumptious Italian-Chinese fusion dish, perfect for a classy yet relaxing night at home (or a Valentine’s Day date night, for all those happy couples out there).
Bak kwa would definitely spice up your plain old spaghetti bolognese, aglio olio, or carbonara. It would also be a great topping for a savory pizza, heaped on top of cheese, mushrooms, bell peppers, sausages… don’t you just drool at the prospect?
3. Bak Kwa Bread
This is probably the most low-effort recipe on this list. If you’re a lazy sloth like me, and you just want a snack without having to get up, turn on the stove, cook for 20 minutes, then wash all the dishes (ugh), this is just the recipe for you.
For a low-maintenance yet delicious snack, slap some bak kwa in between two slices of bread and boom: a bak kwa sandwich. Amazing, right? This is a common snack found in bak kwa stores and roadside stalls, but at home, it only takes a few minutes and a pair of hands.
For more pizzazz, add some other condiments inside that sandwich of yours. Spreading some butter or margarine onto your bread slices would give a subtle yet nice burst of extra flavour, or adding chilli sauce, ketchup, or mayonnaise would spice up your sandwich (literally).
Alternatively or additionally—whichever you prefer or however fancy you want to be—add some other ingredients alongside your bak kwa. Some suggestions include pork floss, cucumbers, and lettuce. The sandwich can be whatever you want it to be, and this would be the perfect quick, easy-to-make yet festive snack if you’re running late for your house visitations.
But if you really want to dress up your sandwich as much as possible because you’re someone who has to make everything perfect to the last detail (even your bread), then consider this: Bak Kwa French Toast.
It does sound like a strange combination, but anything with bak kwa ought to be delicious. The more adventurous ones can test this out for breakfast (or again, if you just really miss France).
For a bak kwa French toast recipe, refer to these pictures and simply substitute the ham slices with bak kwa.
4. Bak Kwa Porridge
We return yet again to the basics; after all, simple is best. Another household staple, especially for Chinese families, is porridge. Porridge, similar to fried rice, is versatile and easy to make. You can have it whenever you want, and throw in whatever ingredients you’d like. But have you considered adding bak kwa to the mix?
It’s easy, really. Really, really easy. Cut your bak kwa into bite-sized squares and throw them into your bowl after you’re done cooking your porridge. You can add in other ingredients if you want, like chicken strips, spring onions. Enjoy while piping hot for the best taste!
5. Eggs and Bak Kwa
There’s no way this could ever taste bad. As both an egg and bak kwa enthusiast, this is one recipe I’d want to try for myself one day. Eggs by themselves are simple yet easy dishes, and there are so many ways to cook them. Experiment with your egg dishes by incorporating some bak kwa for that extra smoky-sweet flavour.
Some suggestions for egg dishes include fried eggs, omelettes, scrambled eggs, and frittatas. For an even stronger kick, add sliced ham, onions, luncheon meat—whatever you’d like! You can enjoy this eggy bak kwa dish by itself, or pair it with white rice. Dare I say: these dishes sound egg-cellent.
For a simple yet surely delicious bak kwa omelette recipe, click here.
6. Bak Kwa Cookies
If you’re just too cool for school and looking for a more unique way to enjoy your bak kwa, how about bak kwa in your desserts? Specifically, bak kwa cookies.
Bak kwa cookies seem to be a popular take on the classic CNY snack, with many stores selling them such as Baker Brew’s Pineapple Bak Kwa Cookies. But if you don’t want to spend more money this CNY because you’re broke from giving out angbaos, why not make your own?
Bak kwa in desserts might sound a bit weird, but rumour is that it’s addictively good: once you start, you can’t stop (yay to the CNY calories). For those looking for a special, unconventional way to eat bak kwa (you do you), I’ve got your back. Dazzle your relatives with some homemade Bak Kwa cookies this CNY.
For a bak kwa cookies recipe, click here.
7. Bak Kwa Jam
Don’t let the name of this recipe throw you off, for it might get you out of a jam.
No, this bak kwa jam isn’t exactly like our strawberry jam or orange marmalade at home, but they look just as tasty anyway. This recipe packs a punch in the flavour department, and is salty, sweet, and sour all at once. You can adjust the flavour to make it as sweet or savoury as you want, and this jam can be eaten with so many things: bread, pasta, or a complement to a cheeseboard if you’re feeling extra rich.
This would be a great snack for welcoming visitors to your home: imagine the dazzled look on their faces when you pull out your jar of bak kwa jam with some bread.
For a bak kwa jam recipe, click here.
8. Bak Kwa Dip
This is another low-effort dish: there is no cooking required! This would probably be good as a quick midday snack (or a midnight snack if you dare, because there’s something about late nights that make food taste even better).
This is an easy recipe which will only take a few minutes to make with only a few ingredients, so consider whipping up this amazing dip to accompany your bak kwa strips.
For a bak kwa dip recipe, click here.
Featured Image: Terence Toh Chin Eng / Shutterstock.com