Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Perk-up the Taste Buds..

Taste buds needed a boost and time was not exactly on my side. Something soupy yet tasty..hmm.. Bak Kut Teh or BKT..sounded really good. Bak Kut Teh (direct translation - Pork Rib Tea/Soup).

Its a Chinese breakfast favourite, particularly of the Hokkien and Teochew dialect community, is served widely in Malaysia and Singapore, with varying ingredients to taste. It is said that BKT was introduced to Malaya (now Malaysia) in the 19th century by Chinese workers from Fujian and Canton.

Essential ingredients of BKT are its meaty pork ribs brewed in a broth of herbs and spices including star anise, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, fennel seeds, pepper corns and garlic.

The Malaysian version of BKT has a deeper and more soulful herbal taste and is normally darker in colour as light and dark soy sauce are added. The Singaporean version is more pale in colour, peppery and there is barely any herbal taste. I like both and it really depends on the mood of the day.

Ingredients sound complex? Well, here's a little tip, there are pre-packed versions sold at most supermarket and asian stores.

Used the Singaporean version which packs a punch with its peppery taste. One can eat this served with rice or with flour vermicelli.

I cooked mine with vermicelli and as I like it packed with a punch, the little saucer has cut Bird's Eye Chili (or known as cili padi, to the locals) in light soy sauce. This goes very well with each spoonful of vermicelli BUT be warned, it can be really hot and spicy. Note: Bird's Eye Chili are known to pack a greater punch as compared to its regular sister chillies.

For some, you must be asking whether wolfberries are a must. It really is optional. Wolfberries are known to benefit ones eyesight and in this delicacy, its deep rich red colour brightens the dish making it more appetizing. Need I say more...


Preparation Time: 45 mins (and I even had time to clear my emails, in between!)

750g Pork Ribs (I used spare ribs today)
6 pcs Tofu Puffs
1 sachet Bak Kut Teh ingredients (can be found in most supermarkets or asian stores)
1 clove Garlic
1.5Lt Water
2 tbsp Wolfberries
1 tsp Light Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
Spring Onion &/or Parsley for garnishing

1. Bring water to boil in the main pot.
2. Simultaneously, in a separate pot with water sufficient to cover the pork ribs, bring water to boil and put in the pork ribs. Once froth appears, remove pork ribs and transfer them into the main pot. Put in clove of garlic and the sachet of Bak Kut Teh ingredients. Leave it to simmer for about 40 minutes
3. Once time is up, put in wolfberries & tofu puffs; light soy sauce and dark soy sauce, to taste.
4. Serve with spring onion &/or parsley for garnishing.

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