Bak kut teh if directly translated means pork rib tea, this Chinese soup is made out of meaty pork ribs slowly simmered for long times in an array of herbs and spices such as star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, garlic, wolfberries, dried dates, dried chillies, dried squid and even ginseng. This dish is popular in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, China and Taiwan
Usually this dish is consumed with rice, a type of puff bread called Youtiao, a chilli dipping sauce and don’t forget the Chinese tea as the Chinese believed that the hot tea dissolves the fat that you might had taken when you had this dish. Apparently my ex-Boss had told that to me when he introduced me this dish in Klang Valley in Malaysia in one of the office breakfasts we had. Yes you saw it right “Breakfast”, apparently this is a popular breakfast dish and in popular shops people line up early in the morning just to have one of this.
Now for a bit of History, it was believed that the Bak Kut Teh was invented in Quanzhou of the Fujian province in China, it was then introduced to Malaysia via Klang in the 19th century by the Chinese in a move to boost the nutrition of dishes served to labourers in port cities, the original recipe was a secret and contains a lot of herbs and spices that aids in boosting the health of the said labourer. That secret recipe was later on passed to someone who went to Klang which started the commercialization of the dish. It became so famous that and the dish was copied and improvised by different vendors, also due to the popularity a lot of different cultures are claiming for the invention of such dish and the popular one are the Hokkiens and the Teochews.
I guess I can say I am lucky as I had tried this dish where it became popular, and in fact it was in the restaurant where the family of the original recipe came from, I cannot remember the name but I still can remember how good it was, so try it when you visit Malaysia and make sure try it only in Klang where it all started.
1 kg pork ribs
2 whole garlic
8 pcs dried Shitake mushrooms
1 packet Bak Kut Teh herbs and spice good for 1 kilo of meat
1 dozen tofu puffs
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
ground white pepper
Green Chillies in Vinegar
1. In a pot add pork ribs, fill it with enough water until it covers the ribs. Bring to a boil and remove any scum that rises to the top.
2. Add the garlic, Shitake, Bak Kut Teh herb and spice packet, tofu puffs, soy sauce, dark soy sauce and oyster sauce. Simmer for 1.5 hrs.
3. Season with salt and ground white pepper then serve.