Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bah Kut Teh

Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.—Brillat-Savarin


I made Bah Kut Teh (pork bone tea soup, for the uninitiated) last night but didn't even get a chance to take pictures of it before it was devoured. I was cooking this delicious soup meal for a fellow Penangite, S.H who was visiting the bf and I from New York after suddenly being struck with homesickness.

I was puttering around the kitchen from 7pm last night, trying to recall how to cook the dish. Mom and Dad conveniently neglected to answer the frantic phone calls that I made to them to ask for advise. Thankfully, S.H was a big help in the kitchen and we managed to get the pot going.

After I announced that dinner was ready, I went to grab a quick shower and walked out to discover that they were on helping #2 already!!!! I didn't get any pics for my blog, needless to say but here's the recipe for those of you who may be homesick for the dish. We had stopped at the chinese store and even bought some Yew Char Koay (fried cruellers). Man, it was delicious!

Bah Kut Teh recipe: a word of warning....all these measurements are agak-agak (a rough guess-timation). My philosophy, just add stuff until it tastes good. And have Pizza Hut or Dominos on speed dial.

Ingredients:
  1. One packet of A1 Bak Kut Teh Spices (should have 2 sachets inside)
  2. 2 plus pounds of cut and cleaned pork ribs with bone. I asked the butcher to cut it into short rib pieces for me.
  3. Three or four pieces of Tong Kwai.
  4. One whole head of garlic-peeled and smashed.
  5. One package of pork/beef balls (I bought the ready made frozen kinds from Vietnam)
  6. Five stalks of baby bok choy....cleaned and separated from the stalk.
  7. 10-15 cups of water. I just fill up my pot to almost 3/4 full.
  8. Freshly cracked peppercorns (I like using the white peppercorns)...use one heaping tbs.
  9. One cube of Knorr's pork bouillon.
  10. One can of Golden Mushroom (Kim Chiam Koo), well drained and separated.
  11. One packet of ready made Yew Char Koay
  12. Two tbs of thick soy sauce
  13. Three tbs of oyster sauce
  14. Three tbs of normal soy sauce
Yeah...the preparation is so hard. I am a fanatic and will spend a lot of time stripping fat and skin away from the meat. The soup is a lot healthier and leaner but of course, the oomph factor is a little compromised. What the heck, it was still good. So good that the boys just continued to eat and eat. They each ate 3 full servings!!!

Okay....now comes the easy part. You still have to stand in the kitchen though and watch the pot. But if your kitchen has a little bar area that opens up to the living room, you can also relax and watch TV at the same time. I was watching House.

To Cook:
  1. Put the pot on the stove and boil the water on High.
  2. When the water is really bubbling, put in everything else, starting with the meat EXCEPT for the beef balls, baby bok choy, mushrooms and Yew Char Koay.
  3. Boil in High for 3o mins, then turn the heat to Medium and cover. Stir occasionally.
  4. After 1 1/2 to 2 hrs (whenever the meat is soft enough to just fall off the bone), turn heat to high and put in beef balls, mushrooms and then blanch the baby bok choy in the boiling soup.
  5. Remove baby bok choy and serve on a platter. Place cut up Yew Char Koay on a serving platter.
  6. Dish up soup and dinner is ready.
  7. Do I have to tell you to cook white rice as well??? This one is a no brainer.
  8. Oh....word of warning...don't leave the food undefended to take a shower. No good can come out of this.

4 comments:

Paris Beaverbanks said...

Ooh I remember when I'd use this on a cold winter's evening in the UK. Perfect for winter and homesickness :)

Tine said...

Yummm ... my fave! But can't take this often though, cos very heaty :P

k.t.x said...

yeah, this will be totally excellent on a cold day. btw how many of those packets hv u stocked up in the states? lol.

TrueBluePenangite said...

Paris: It was an extremely cold night so it was rather perfect to cure both homesickness and to ward off the cold. Pretty easy cleanup too.

Tine: Why is it considered heaty? Is it the meat or the herbs? I know you ain't talking about the temperature.

k.t.x: You don't want to know how many packets I have stocked up. In fact, lets just say that I can either open a restaurant or survive a famine with my food. So typical Asian, right? And I buy food like crazy when I get home once a year.