Hed Chef

Chicken bak kwa made from scratch

Chicken bak kwa.
Chicken bak kwa.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - Too busy spring cleaning to queue for premium bak kwa? It is not too late to grab a couple of chicken legs and make your own.

Yes, that’s right. A chicken theme for festive food  to celebrate the Year of the Rooster.

Revisiting a previous recipe for pork bak kwa, I tweaked it to use chicken instead.


I threw in a little chilli to spice it up, but the effect is pretty mild, so it is still palatable for children. You can use two ground up chilli padi to take the spiciness up a notch.

I chose chicken legs as the meat is more tender and moist. The fat content also keeps the meat from drying out during the cooking process.

Chicken chilli bak kwa


14 (1.3kg) deboned chicken legs (with skin)
240g fine sugar
1½ tsp salt
1 Tbs light soy sauce
2 Tbs oyster sauce
1 tsp five spice powder
3 drops of Chinese rose wine
2 Tbs Chinese rice wine
3 red finger chillies (deseeded, finely chopped)
A pinch of red food colouring

Equipment needed: Food processor, baking paper, clingwrap, rolling pin and a baking tray measuring 37cm by 26cm by 1.5cm deep.


1. Rinse the chicken legs, drain off excess water and pat dry with paper towels. Place in the fridge for two hours or until the surface of the meat is dry to touch. This helps to prevent excessive moisture when you mince and marinate the meat.

2. Remove the chicken meat from the fridge and place half in food processor. Pulse to mince the meat finely. Remove and mince the remaining chicken meat. Doing this in two batches ensures an even mince.


3. Place all of the minced chicken meat in a deep dish.

4. Add the sugar, salt, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, five spice powder, Chinese rose wine and Chinese rice wine. Mix well.


5. Add in the chopped red finger chillies.

6. Add in a pinch of red food colouring. Mix well.

7. Leave the chicken meat to marinate overnight in the fridge.

8. Cut four sheets of baking paper, each to fit the dimensions of the 37cm by 26cm tray.

9. Preheat the oven to 160 deg C.

10. Line the tray with a sheet of baking paper.

11. Take 325g of the chicken meat and place on the baking paper. Cover the chicken meat as well as the entire sheet of baking paper with cling wrap. Use a rolling pin to flatten and spread the chicken meat over the bottom of the tray. Aim for a thickness of about 5mm.

11. Remove the cling wrap.

12. Place the tray in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 13 minutes.

13. Remove from the oven. Use a pair of scissors to cut the meat into six pieces.

14. Place the tray back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.

15. Remove from the oven, turn over the bak kwa slices and bake for another two minutes.

16. Remove from oven, place on wire rack and allow to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.

17. Repeat the baking process for the remaining chicken meat.

Yield:  24 slices (800g) of chicken bak kwa.