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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 sometimes ate bacon-wrapped water chestnuts as a snack. Snacks and appetizers are referred to as pūpū. Since we ate these on a regular basis, our household merely referred to 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 slightly chew from ginger and garlic. The mixture of those flavors with salty and crisp bacon is unbelievably delicious! However whereas the style is huge and daring, you’ll be completely satisfied to comprehend it takes little or no effort to make.

Why Our Recipe

  • We’ve examined and perfected this dish over 30 years.
  • Straightforward sufficient for teenagers 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. 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 the most effective 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 seek 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. 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 may disintegrate.
  • Water Chestnuts: depart them entire and don’t attempt to lower 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 name like Sprite. You need to use pineapple juice for a extra tropical style, however we desire 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’ll be able to 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. An overhead view collage of images showing the steps to making bacon wrapped water chestnuts.

Chef’s Suggestions

Test earlier than reducing the bacon. Usually the strips of bacon are lower in half earlier than wrapping across the water chestnuts. However earlier than slicing, first test the size of the bacon versus the scale of the chestnuts. If the water chestnuts are on the smaller aspect, you may be capable of lower the bacon strips into thirds.

When inserting within the toothpick, generally the water chestnut can cut up. Remember to push the toothpick by the middle, not the sting to stop splitting. Go straight by, attempting to not wiggle the toothpick an excessive amount of. Watch your palms!

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

Use tongs to show the water chestnuts midway by cooking. That is vital so that every one sides of the bacon could be crisp.

Preserve your eyes on them. The bacon crisping up would be the cue to know they’re finished. 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 youngsters assist! Present them a few times how one can 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 prime of the pan. Everybody may have enjoyable within the kitchen, and also you’ll be free to work on different dishes. (Or take slightly well-deserved break!)

Strive Smoking Them!

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

Because of the measurement of the water chestnuts, they will simply fall by the grate. So use a grill mat. Unfold the bacon wrapped water chestnuts out and set the oblique grill to 325. Allow them to cook 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. 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 aspect or predominant dish the entire household loves. Pair them with savory island meals like kalua pork or savory pulled ham, Hawaiian bbq hen, 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. Test usually, as you wish to ensure that the water chestnut is heated by however not overcook the bacon.

Extra scrumptious appetizer recipes…

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