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Homemade Bak Kut Teh – Photo Recipe Puzzle

Many of you might not be aware of a dish called Bak Kut Teh. The apparent reason for it might be that it is obviously a dish with an obscure Chinese name only a Chinese would know. The backdrop though is, that many of the billion Chinese on this earth might not even know it for the simple reason that this is one of the Chinese dishes that actually stems from the multicultural country Malaysia. In fact the 3 main cultural groups in Malaysia: the Malay, the Indians and the Chinese all adapted, modified and developed the cuisine of their home countries, creating new dishes that account for the richness and variety of today’s Malaysian gastronomy.

So what is Bak Kut Teh? Bak Kut Teh literally means Meat Bone Tea (in “Hokkien” dialect) and is actually a very intense pork soup made with various spices. It comes of course with the pork meat and on the side one eats white rice, Chinese greens, chunks of fried dough called You Tiao or simply “ghost”, as well as minced garlic and chilies that you can mix into the broth.

I already reported once on a well known Bak Kut Teh restaurant in Kuala Lumpur which made me discover the dish. On my recent visit of the country (my brother lives there) though, our friend Waiyee offered to prepare this dish for us. Here’s the photo story of it. Hopefully it is in the right order and my little explanations are correct.

Bak Kut Teh pot
First one needs a nice big pot filled with water

Bak Kut Teh spice bag
Then, probably the hardest to get ingredient outside of Malaysia are those special Bak Kut Teh Spices. Some of them are already premixed in special teabags.

Pork Ribs for Bak Kut Teh
Juicy pork ribs are another requirement – easy to get this time!

Dried Fungus for Bak Kut Teh
Soak the dried fungus mushrooms in water

Dried mushrooms for Bak Kut Teh
…more dried fungus mushrooms to be soaked in water.

Bak Kut Teh spice bag in pot
put the Bak kut Teh spice bags in the pot

Spices for Bak Kut Teh
…add the other Bak Kut Teh spices


Also, don’t forget to add 4 whole garlic bulbs to the broth.

Add Pork to Bak Kut Teh
After some time of infusion, the pork meat can be added.

Add Pork Bones to Bak Kut Teh
A few bony parts of pork are also necessary. From that moment on, the pot can be closed and the dish can simmer a few hours (3-4).

Corn Flour for Bak Kut Teh
some corn flour is needed… (what for again? sprinkle a bit on the pork meat to make it more tender)

Pimm's Cup
This is Not for the Bak Kut Teh, but as a refreshment (Pimm’s Cup)for the cook who stands in a 40 degree kitchen froom now on..

Sauteed minced Pork for Bak Kut Teh
Meanwhile, as a side to Bak Kut Teh, a sauteed mix of minced pork, garlic, spring onions and mushrooms is prepared which is to be eaten rolled up in lettuce.

Side of Tofu for Bak Kut Teh
A big chunk of Tofu is also good on the side.

Seasoning of Bak Kut Teh
After a few hours of simmering, the soaked mushrooms can be added to the pot. At the same time, the broth can be seasoned with some dark caramel soy sauce and light soy sauce.

Enoki Mushrooms for Bak Kut Teh
In the last minutes, those beautiful Enoki mushrooms also find their way into the broth.

Portion of Bak Kut Teh
After taking out the many infused spices, a served portion of homemade Bak Kut Teh looks like this. And it tastes just delicious.

Bak Kut Teh side order
On the side: rice, the minced pork in lettuce and baby Kai Lak. Minced Chilies are to be used at own taste of course.

Hopefully I can manage to reproduce this dish at home – I especially brought back some spices, and the rest I should be able to find in Germany! Somehow though, I think I want to put my own twist on it by using beef instead of pork, something which must sound like blasphemy to the Bak Kut Teh Hardliners. :P

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  1. Chef Wai Yee Said,

    Beef??? Yes you are right, I feel like you are abusing the Bak Kut Teh spirit now :) dont worry in reproducing this dish as you can always ask me if you forget any steps..
    the cornflour is for the pork streaks i’ve bought…add a little of cornflour to it..the meat will be more tender..not too much
    you left out the seasonings such as the dark caramel soy sauce and light soy sauce..that is to be added towards the end of the cooking…

    p/s that is the mushroom not fungus

  2. alexis2 Said,

    Thanks! Whats the name again of that “mushroom” that looks like a wobbly pigs ear?

  3. Chef Wai Yee Said,

    Its a type of black fungus..not sure you can find it in Germany …hmm we have 1001 funguses..maybe you can try dried sea horse instead :p

  4. Chef Wai Yee Said,

    Also the black fungus i used is the fresh wet one…not the dried one, there is also the dried black one too..i think that is easier to find

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