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Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts (Pūpūs)

My mom lived on the Pacific island of Kwajalein for a number of years when she was rising up, and infrequently ate bacon-wrapped water chestnuts as a snack. Snacks and appetizers are known as pūpū. Since we ate these on a regular basis, our household merely known as this dish pupu. It’s the snack of snacks for us! The recipe has lengthy been a household favourite and is really made with love! It begins with a easy however flavorful marinade that’s candy, savory, and has a bit chunk from ginger and garlic. The mix of those flavors with salty and crisp bacon is unbelievably delicious! However whereas the style is large and daring, you’ll be pleased to understand it takes little or no effort to make.

Why Our Recipe

  • We’ve examined and perfected this dish over 30 years.
  • Straightforward sufficient for youths to make, so scrumptious that everybody likes to eat them!

A close up view of someone holding up a bacon wrapped water chestnut on a toothpick.

What makes this model particular is that I’ve examined a number of totally different substances and strategies over many years to nail down one of the best flavors and cooking strategies. Once we say this recipe is tried-and-true, we imply it! I’ve slowly tweaked portions right here and there: including or decreasing bits of garlic and ginger to search out the right quantity, attempting kind of brown sugar, and swapping pineapple juice for citrus soda. Little by little, these changes have created a flavorful water chestnut marinade that’s merely irresistible AND really easy to make!

Ingredient Notes

An overhead view of the ingredients needed to make bacon wrapped water chestnuts.
  • Bacon: use skinny strips of high quality pork bacon to simply wrap across the water chestnuts. Don’t attempt to swap with turkey bacon or low cost bacon that can disintegrate.
  • Water Chestnuts: depart them complete and don’t attempt to minimize in items.
  • Soy Sauce: use common or low-sodium soy sauce. For a soy-free dish be at liberty to swap with coconut aminos.
  • Lemon Lime Soda: any selection of brand name like Sprite. You should utilize pineapple juice for a extra tropical style, however we favor the soda.
  • Brown Sugar: mild brown is greatest for a candy however mellow style.
  • Ginger and Garlic: use freshly minced for essentially the most taste. In a pinch you possibly can swap contemporary garlic on this recipe with 1/8 teaspoon of dry garlic.
An overhead view collage of images showing the steps to making bacon wrapped water chestnuts.

Chef’s Suggestions

Examine earlier than slicing the bacon. Usually the strips of bacon are minimize in half earlier than wrapping across the water chestnuts. However earlier than slicing, first examine the size of the bacon versus the scale of the chestnuts. If the water chestnuts are on the smaller facet, you would possibly be capable of minimize the bacon strips into thirds.

When inserting within the toothpick, generally the water chestnut can cut up. You’ll want to push the toothpick via the middle, not the sting to forestall splitting. Go straight via, attempting to not wiggle the toothpick an excessive amount of. Watch your arms!

Use a baking sheet that’s lined with parchment paper for fast and straightforward cleanup.

Use tongs to show the water chestnuts midway via cooking. That is necessary so that every one sides of the bacon will be crisp.

Hold your eyes on them. The bacon crisping up would be the cue to know they’re executed. Take away them from the oven promptly so that they don’t overcook.

Prep forward and marinate the water chestnuts for as much as 24 hours previous to cooking.

Let the children assist! Present them a couple of times easy methods to wrap and safe the bacon, then allow them to have at it. The marinade comes collectively simply in a single bowl and is poured proper on high of the pan. Everybody can have enjoyable within the kitchen, and also you’ll be free to work on different dishes. (Or take a bit well-deserved break!)

Attempt Smoking Them!

These pupus are additionally superior cooked on an oblique grill (Pellet grill). 

Because of the dimension of the water chestnuts, they will simply fall via the grate. So use a grill mat. Unfold the bacon wrapped water chestnuts out and set the oblique grill to 325. Allow them to prepare dinner for 25 minutes. Watch rigorously so that you don’t burn the bacon.

An overhead view of bacon wrapped water chestnuts on a baking sheet.

What to Serve with Pūpūs

Crisp water chestnuts wrapped in bacon are a scrumptious facet or predominant dish the entire household loves. Pair them with savory island meals like kalua pork or savory pulled ham, Hawaiian bbq chicken, or spam fried rice. Spotlight the sweetness of the water chestnuts and likewise serve with a fruit salad, slices of contemporary or grilled pineapple, or slices of mango.

They’re at all times successful as an appetizer for get-togethers, potlucks, and events. Actually, any event! Serve crunchy, candy and salty water chestnuts alongside different finger meals snacks like cream cheese and avocado wontons and crab rangoons.

Storage and Reheating Directions

Refrigerate leftovers for 5-6 days in an hermetic container.

Reheat in an oven or air fryer at 350 for 7-9 minutes. Examine typically, as you need to ensure the water chestnut is heated via however not overcook the bacon.

Extra scrumptious appetizer recipes…

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