The Bak Kut Teh that I grew up eating in Malaysia is brown and herby. Pungent with angelica (dongguai) and comes with ‘spare parts’.
In Singapore, it is actually quite different from the ones we eat here. It looks pale and resembles the familiar pepper soup, but it is so much more garlicky, in a good way.
I referred to Seetoh’s video to see how should I cook this. Quite easy, just like boiling soup, but quicker as you won’t want the meat to be too fragile, and fall off the bone with no effort. I didn’t use as much pepper, although I would love to, as my other half can’t take that much. It is still peppery, just that it doesn’t smoke the ears.
I don’t recommend using the easy way with pepper powder, as it won’t taste as good, as freshly cracked peppercorn is way more fragrant.
I didn’t use large soup bones, as I think it needs many hours of simmering to bring out the best flavour, 1 hour will not be sufficient. If you want to use large soup bones as additional flavour, simmer that in advance, before you add the rest. So, far, I’m happy with just regular ribs in it. Good enough for me.
To crack peppercorns, you only need to use the side of the cleaver and press the peppercorns down. That is how I do it all the time. If not, you can use the mortar or even a food processor, but washing up these equipment seems more work eh?
Singapore Teochew Bak Kut Teh
1 kg pork ribs
200gm / 6-7 bulbs of garlic, separated
1 Tbsp or more quality white peppercorns, cracked and lightly toasted
Salt to taste
1. Bring a pot of water to boil, and blanch the ribs for 1 minute. Drain and rinse the ribs under running water.
2. Wash the pot and boil 2L water.
3. Put in blanched ribs, garlic, peppercorns and bring back to a boil.
4. Put in 1 tsp salt, cover and turn the heat to medium low and simmer for 1 hour, or until meat is tender, but doesn’t fall off the bone.
5. Season and turn off the heat.
6. Serve with rice.