Shermay’s Super-Easy Bak Kut Teh

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.0-1.2 kg baby pork ribs (preferably, Australian pork from Huber’s Butchery)
  • 2 whole garlic bulb (from any wet market, super market, or Huber’s Butchery).
    Additional optional step: peel the cloves apart, dry-toast with the skin-on in a non-stick pan, until the skins are slightly charred and blacked.
  • 1 pack Bak Kut Teh spice mix (suggested brands: A1, Prima, Chng Kee’s, Seah’s etc). Alternatively, dry-toast 50 gm whole white peppercorns in a non-stick pan, until it releases its aroma, it slightly darkens in colour and chars in some areas.
  • 1-2 tsp highest quality dark soy sauce
  • Condiment: Cilicuka (Original, Extra Hot or Super Hot)
  • Optional: serve with coriander leaves as a garnish, Chinese doughstick (youtiao) on the side.

METHOD:

  1. Cut the tops off 2 whole garlic bulbs. Leave the skins on. Set aside for use later.
  2. Cut the baby pork ribs into pieces, slice in between the bones.
  3. Transfer the pieces of pork into a pot, cover with water, then discard. This is to remove any possible bone fragments.
  4. Fill the pot with water, just enough to cover the meat.
  5. Bring to boil. Let the impurities (coagulated blood and some fat) rise to the surface. Discard this water. (This step is to blanch the pork and rid the meat of impurities, which results in a clearer soup.)
  6. Add water, just enough to cover the meat. Add the 2 garlic bulbs and the Bak Kut Teh spice mix (mainly peppercorns).
  7. Cover then bring to the boil again. Lower to a gentle simmer then cover. (Low and slow simmering is the trick to tender meat and well-flavoured soup stock.) Uncover every 15 mins to scoop up any impurities. Use a fine mesh sieve. (This is what results in a clear soup.)
  8. Once it has simmered for a total of 45-60 mins, pierce the meat with a fork or knife to check for its tenderness. Taste the soup to check the seasoning. Add 1 to 2 tsp dark soy sauce, which add saltiness and richness to the flavour. It also helps to darken the colour of the pale soup.
  9. In an individual soup serving bowl, transfer a few pieces of meat, then cover with the soup stock. Serve with Cilicuka (Original, Extra Hot or Super Hot) on the side, as a dipping sauce.
  10. The soup can be garnished with coriander sprigs for colour, and served with white rice and/or Chinese doughsticks (youtiao).

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