Monday, August 8, 2011

Dry Bak Kut Teh

It's my turn to do the cooking for this coming 2 months as my partner's mum is back to her hometown. Before that, I had been wondering what should I be cooking for dinner. Till yesterday, I decided to cook a Klang version of dry bak kut teh.

In Malaysia, especially my hometown in Klang, bak kut teh is almost available at every corner and every hour (from morning till evening). Malaysians have the choice of having bak kut teh for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even supper. One of my ex-Executive Director always having bak kut teh for breakfast as it is one of his favourite. I remembered I did join him a few times for breakfast. 

Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶), is literally translated as "Pork Bone Tea" in hokkien dialect. According to Wikipedia, Bak kut teh was introduced to Malaya in the 19th century by Chinese coolies and workers of Hokkien origin. The dish is reported to supplement the meagre diet of port coolies and as a tonic to boost their health.

There are a few different version of bak kut teh. The Hokkiens' version uses dark soy sauce which is why the soup base is darker in colour as compared to the Teochews version. which is lighter in colour with more peppery taste. Apart from that, in around 1996, another Hokkien's version of bak kut teh was being introduced, which are famously known as the dry version of bak kut teh.

The dry version of bak kut teh flavour is totally different as compared to the soup version. The dry version of bak kut teh is being cooked with additional ingredients such as okra/ lady fingers, dried chilies and dry squids, which resulted to a more tangier and sharper taste.

In Klang, there are lots of famous bak kut teh places that you can visit in Klang. And I would recommend you to a few places below which I personally find it very tasty as compared to the rest.
After doing some surfing, there's a few reviews on the restaurant mentioned above that you can also read through by clicking on the link above.

For my dry version of bak kut teh, I served it with some Chinese cruller (油条) and stir fried cos lettuce with fermented bean curd (豆腐乳) as the side. Meanwhile for my rice, I garnished it with some deep fried shallot and some cut spring onion/ corriander garnish for the soup broth.

Below are my "Dry Bak Kut Teh" Recipe for your reference. Hope you will enjoy eating it.

Serves: 4

Soup Broth Ingredients:
2 pack of prepacked bak kut teh spices (recommending Tean's Gourmet brand)
500g pork belly
300g pork ribs
400g canned mushrooms (whole)
12 pcs deep fried beancurd (also known as tau fu pok ,豆腐卜/ 豆腐泡, in hokkien dialect)
2 pcs whole garlics
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons wolfberries

1. Boiled a pot of about 1.5 litre water.
2. Add in the 2 prepacked bak kut teh spices into the boiled water and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Using another new pot, boiled another half pot of water. Then use the boiled water to boiled all the pork belly and pork ribs for about 5 minutes. (This method is to remove all the unwanted smell from the pork and also the bubbles that it will create.)
4. Then, add in all the pork belly, pork ribs, wolfberries, salt and dark soy sauce and simmer for about 40 minutes.
5. Add in deep fried beancurd and canned mushrooms into the soup. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes.

Dry Version Ingredient:
10 pcs dried chilies
2 pcs birds eye chilies
8 pcs okra/ lady fingers (depending on the size and your preference)
Handful of dried squid (also known as jiu hu in hokkien dialect)
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of salt
500ml of bak kut teh soup broth

1. Remove all the pork belly and pork ribs from the soup broth.
2. Rinse the dry squid with water.
3. Heat the claypot with some oil.
4. Fry the dry squid until it is fragrant.
5. Then add in the dry chilies and bird eye chilies. Fry until it is fragrant.
6. Add in all the porks into the claypot.
7. Then add in dark soy sauce, salt and about 500ml of the soup broth into the claypot.
8. Simmered it until it is almost dry, then add in okra and stir fry till it's cooked.
9. Serve with rice and the soup broth together.

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