Earlier this year, I went on a bak kut teh eat-venture and decided that this – Soon Soon Heng Bak Kut Teh @ Johor Bahru – was the best BKT I had. I’ve always preferred the Hokkien style of BKT that is darker in colour with the addition of dark soya sauce and it is also more aromatic with spices as compared to our local Teochew one that can be overwhelmingly peppery and/or monotonous in flavour.
I’m not well versed in Chinese herbs but I do know too much or too little of certain herbs might not be good for everyone because of the yin-yang balance. Anyway as the husband and I aren’t big fans of intensely herbal broths, in this bak kut teh recipe, there are no danggui, yuzhu or the like. Despite that, the broth itself was still very robust tasting because pork bone broth was used. And if you like, you can also dress this BKT up with extra ingredients like fried beancurd skin or puff, canned button mushrooms, offals, etc – whatever you like, really. Enjoy!
Bak Kut Teh Recipe
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
500g pork ribs or soft bones
2 + 1 tbsp sunflower oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 bulb garlic, peeled & crushed
1 tsp yellow bean paste
1.4 litres hot pork bone stock or hot water
2 petals star anise
1″ length cinnamon
1 tsp white peppercorns
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1. Marinate pork ribs with salt and pepper. Set aside for half hour.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in pan and sear pork ribs till well browned. Remove and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.
3. In another pan, heat 1 tbsp oil and add sugar. Stir fry till it turns brown and caramelises.
4. Add garlic and yellow bean paste and stir fry for 1/2 minute. Return the pork ribs to the pan with the stock (or water) and seasoning ingredients.
5. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours till the meat is tender.