Friday 25 September 2015

Bak Kut Teh 肉骨茶

New Photo updated February 2018

Bak Kut Teh 肉骨茶 is really pork ribs stewed with variety of herbs and spices. There are primarily 3 types of Bak Kut Teh in Singapore - Hokkien style, Teochew style and Cantonese style. I can cook all 3 (without using the premix packets). As my husband is most fond of the clear soup style, I shall cover this version first.

There are fewer spices and no herbs usage in this version and requires the least ingredients, making the Bak Kut Teh 肉骨茶 relatively easy to prepare.

Ingredients (generous portions for 2 to 3 pax) :

  • 800 gm pork ribs (chopped into individual rib pieces)
  • 4 to 5 whole bulbs of garlic 
  • 60 to 70 gm white peppercorns (or to taste)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 2 star anise (optional)
  • 1 tsp 5 spice powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp ikan bilis/anchovies stock powder (or to taste)
  • water to boil
  • coriander/cilantro (optional)(for garnishing)
  • dark soy sauce (as condiment) 
  • chilli padi (sliced)(as condiment) 
  • 2 to 3 pcs of you tiao 油条/chinese dough fritters (cut to bite sizes as side dish)

    (tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)    

    Tip : Contain white peppercorns and spices in cloth sachet so that clear soup could be scooped easily off the pot when boiled. Leave the garlic bulbs out of the sachet as we usually serve the garlic cloves/bulbs together with the soup and ribs.

    Method : 

    Roast garlic bulbs till light golden brown and set aside.
    Roast white peppercorns till they start popping and set aside.
    Blanch ribs in boiling water for 3 minutes to remove scums.
    Set ribs aside after blanch.
    Contain peppercorns and all spices in a clean cloth sachet.
    Boil 1.5 to 2 litres water. Fold in garlic, peppercorns, five spice powder and ribs when water boils. Simmer for 1 to 2 hours at medium heat to your desired meat texture. Or 30 to 40 mins if you are using a pressure cooker. Add salt, and ikan bilis stock powder in the last 10 to 15 minutes of boil. 
    Set aside You Tiao 油条/Chinese Dough Fritters to serve with Bak Kut Teh.
    Set aside dark soy sauce with chilli padi to serve with Bak Kut Teh.
    Transfer ribs, garlic and soup to serving bowl after 2 hours of boil. Serve piping hot.
    New Photo updated February 2018
    New Photo updated February 2018

    Bak Kut Teh 肉骨茶 - a bowl of goodness. You would not believe how easy it is to prepare.


    1. Can you also share the Hokkien style and Cantonese style ones? I didn't know there are 3 versions altogether. I would love to know what the differences are.

      1. I am sorry, As I was offline for quite a long period, I did not see your reply till today. Many apologies. Basically, there are 3 kinds of Bak Ku Teh in Singapore/Malaysia - The Teochew style, Hokkien style and Cantonese style. In short, the Teochew style is the commonly seen one in Singapore. They are the clear, light colour ones and very peppery. The Hokkien style is more popular in Malaysia. They are rich, dark and more flavourful. The Cantonese style is less seen here. Quite typical of Cantonese, they are normally infused with herbal taste and fragrance. I hope that answers your query :) You may read up this link from NLB for detailed write-up :

        I will try to cook and share the other 2 versions when I get to use the kitchen as we can only move in to our new home in few months time. :)