Singaporeans’ view of food is crucial to their national identity. While sitting with Singaporeans, the conversation often turns to food: where they think the best food is, what they ate on the weekend, and suggestions for your next meal. Let’s focus on the bak kut teh!
The name is literally translated as ‘Meat Bone Tea’, but the name is rather misleading because Bak Kut Teh does not actually contain any tea at all, it is a soup! Perhaps it’s the soup’s color that resembles tea. Customarily Bak Kut Teh is prepared through many hours of simmering meaty pork ribs in a broth of pepper and garlic, amongst other herbs. There are many different versions of Bak Kut Teh: the Hokkien style soup, which is dark in color, thicker and more herbal, whereas the Teochew style is a clear and peppery soup.
Bak Kut Teh RecipeCourse: Recipes Box
1 kg pork ribs
2 l water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dark soy sauce
12 cloves garlic (old)
- For the homemade spice mix
2 star anises
1/2 stick cinnamon (3-4 gm)
4 tsp white pepper (whole)
2 tsp black pepper (whole)
- Sauce, garnishes and toppings
4 big red chilli
5 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 chilli padi for garnishing
4 sticks you tiao (pre-cooked)
- Blanch the pork ribs in a pot of boiling water over high heat for 10 minutes.
- Discard the water and use a small knife to scrape off any blood clots or scum stuck to the pork ribs. Rinse well and set aside.
- Toast the white and black pepper in a pan for a few minutes until aromatic.
- Pound the star anise, white pepper, black pepper, cloves and cinnamon lightly using a pestle and mortar. Place these spices in a small filter bag.
- Lightly bruise the garlic with skin on.
- Wash the chilli and slice it, then and put in a small bowl. Add 5 TBsp dark soya sauce and 3 TBsp light soya sauce to the bowl as the dipping sauce.
- In a large pot, add 2 litres of water and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, add in the blanched pork ribs, salt, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce and the spice mix bag. Simmer for 1 ½ hour’s over medium-low heat with the lid half-covered.
- Add the bruised garlic and continue to simmer for another 15 mins or until the pork ribs are soft. More light and black soya sauce may be added to taste.Fish out and discard the bag of spices.
- Serve the Bak Kut Teh with the dipping sauce and rice.
Craving for Bak Kuh Teh now? Check the available restaurants delivering Singaporean dishes or if you are still in the mood to cook, you can also order the missing ingredients at your nearest Pandamart and have them delivered under 25 minutes!