Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homemade Bak Kut Teh

I was feeling particularly bold one fine day. I wanted to try making bak kut teh at home. I did some massive research online - looking through posts from other bloggers who've tried it. Most of them seemed pleased with the end result. So I threw all caution to the wind, with no expectations at all and decided to go ahead and venture into unfamiliar bak kut teh territory. 

Before that, I must say it is thanks to my dad that my siblings and I appreciate this dish as much as we do. Growing up in PJ Old Town, he used to take us to a famous BKT shop nearby and have our share. I remember everything happening so fast; from the ordering to the eating to the bill paying - it was all over in a flash and we would be on our merry way home. So efficient and so tasty! 

So back to my BKT adventure, I purchased a packet of BKT Herbs and Spices Mix. This particular brand was Claypot. It's sold in most supermarkets and fairly easy to get. 

There are clear instructions in the back on how to go about preparing the BKT. My version is similar but my portion is smaller as it only serves 2. 

Serves 2
1 packet 'Bakuteh Kau' Herbs & Spices Mix (2 filter bags inside)
350g-400g pork ribs (or other cuts you prefer)
100g enoki mushrooms
Note: I used enoki mushrooms because that's our favourite. You may use other types of mushrooms you prefer.
1.3litres water
Note: You can use more water, up to 1.5l depending on the size of your pot or claypot.
I whole garlic bulb (peeled and single pieces of garlic kept whole)

1 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce 

First you need to blanch (submerge into boiling water) the pork ribs for a short period of time. I find this takes away any 'porky' taste and is an important step. 

Blanching the Pork Ribs
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, put in pork ribs and allow to boil for about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse pork ribs in cold water. Set aside.
The whitish substance at the top is scum and is something you wanna remove by boiling the meat.
Making Bak Kut Teh Soup in 2 Easy Steps!
Step 1
Fill your claypot or pot with 1.3litres water. Place the 2 filter bags in it and leave to boil for 30 minutes.

Start with a high flame, once boiling, you may lower the flame but keep it to a boil.
Step 2
After 30 minutes, add the garlic, dark, light & oyster sauce and pork ribs to the boiling soup. Allow to simmer for 1 hour. Taste the meat at this point and see if meat is tender. If yes, add in mushrooms and switch off heat. Remove filter bags.

Simmer for 1 hour and taste to see if meat is tender. If not, allow to simmer for another 10-15minutes.
Make sure you have the right dishes to go with. We settled for steaming hot rice and Yau Char Kwai which we dunked in the super tasty soup!

Don't forget the chopped cili padi and minced garlic for that extra kick!
Serve hot. I love cooking in a claypot because I can bring it right to the table for serving!
Overall to be honest I was surprised it tasted as good as it did. Nothing against pre-mixes, but I guess I was very unsure how this would turn out. The pork ribs were tender. It took just about 1 hour of simmering. The cooking time would depend on how thick or meaty your pieces are. I got the ribs from Jaya Grocer. The pieces were perfectly cut. All in all, the soup was very tasty, the meaty ribs very tender and mushrooms soft with a slight crunchy feel. Made it twice so far and would definitely do it again. 

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