Teochew Bak Kut Teh

I love good ol’ Chinese soups like double-boiled herbal soups, bak kut teh, steamboats, etc. Unfortunately, the husband has an MSG sensitivity so we don’t often opt to eat such Chinese food when we dine out. What happens when a craving strikes? Usually, I would pester friends at work to go eat bak kut teh with me, or I would meet up with the sister for steamboat. But I’ve decided  – two weeks ago – to try to make my own bak kut teh. Something hearty, flavourful, and without the seasonings the “ang moh” claims give him a headache. Haha!

Between the peppery, light-flavoured Teochew bak kut teh and the darker, herbal Malaysian version, my family and I prefer the latter anytime. As kids, we used to travel up to Klang to visit my granduncle who owned a very popular BKT stall. Only he and his wife know the EXACT proportions of the herbs used in his BKT. Besides the BKT soup, he also cooked the rice in a shallot oil for that extra oomph. He no longer sells BKT but has offered to teach me how. I would have to spend 2 and a half weeks in Klang though.

But just to tide the craving over, I made the Teochew version and used the leftover soup to cook up some super delish beehoon the next day. Here’s the recipe:

500g pork bones
1kg of pork ribs (Tip: get them as thick and meaty as you can find them)
500g garlic, keep them as whole bulbs but smash them slightly with a pestle and mortar
100g white peppercorn, crush them with a pestle and mortar
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
12 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in water for 10 minutes
A bag of tau-pok, cut into halves

1. Scald the bones and ribs in a pot of boiling water. Drain them and set aside.

2. In a soup pot (about 3 – 4 litres), fill with water and bring to boil.

3. Add garlic, white pepper, bones, and ribs. Add salt, light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. Simmer for minimum of 2 hours.

4. Add mushrooms. Simmer for another hour.

5. Before serving, arrange the tau-pok pieces in the bowls then strain the soup over.

6. Serve with side of white rice and sliced chili padi with dark soy sauce.

7. Be sure the keep the leftover soup!

Bak kut teh 2

And as for the bee hoon … 

200g beehoon
Roughly 500ml of leftover stock
1/2 cup of leftover stock to be used later
Pork belly, sliced
250g pork ribs
100g bok choy or cai xin, chopped
Shallots, finely chopped
Garlic, finely chopped
White pepper to taste
1 tbsp light soy sauce

1. Boil the leftover soup. In a separate bowl, pour the soup over the dried beehoon. Leave to soak until it’s soft and pliable. Beware not to soak for too long.

2. In a pot of boiling water, boil the pork belly and ribs until they’re about 75% cooked. Strain and set aside.

3. In your frying pan, heat oil and fry the shallots. When they become transparent, add the garlic.

4. Add the beehoon and fry gently. You might want to use chopsticks or tongs to shift the beehoon around.

5. Add the pork belly, ribs, and veggies. Mix it all up gently. Add pepper and soy sauce to taste.

6. Add the 1/2 cup of stock until it just dampens the whole thing, simmer in the frying pan until the soup is fully absorbed by the beehoon.

7. Turn off the heat and leave to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

bak kut teh fried bee hoon

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