Monday, July 18, 2011

Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶) Recipe

Tonight's dinner was Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶, rou gu cha) as the boy wanted to eat it. Bak Kut Teh is a Chinese herbal soup that is basically pork ribs simmered in herbs and spices for hours. The longer the better so that the meat so soft it just crumbles in your mouth.

Nowadays, the local supermarket or Chinese shop will sell ready-packed herbs for cooking Bak Kut Teh. Actually, for all kinds of Chinese herbal soups! The herbs (like the ones above) are portioned nicely and all you have to do is to boil it with all the ingredients. Very idiot-proof heh.

Here's my version of Bak Kut Teh. I don't usually follow recipes to the exact word, but add ingredients and season to my taste. Bak Kut Teh is usually eaten with rice, or noodles e.g. mee sua (a thin, slightly salted white noodles made from wheat flour). I like mine with mee sua, but I don't have any at home now. Our family doesn't eat much carbo so we don't usually eat rice. Tonight we had Bak Kut Teh with macaroni. To my foreigner friends, that is a-typical.. so don't tell other Chinese to eat Chinese herbal soups with macaroni hahahha

Dark soy sauce and chopped chilli padi is the condiment of choice for Bak Kut Teh. We like to eat it with You Tiao (油条, fried dough strips) too. Bak Kut Teh has some health benefits due to the various Chinese herbs in the soup, but due to the meaty pork ribs, it is a fatty soup.

Lovely to have on a cold winter's night though :) Here's my rather unorthodox recipe of cooking Bak Kut Teh.

Prep time:
Minimum 2 hours

1kg meaty pork ribs
1 packet of Bak Kut Teh herbs
1 whole garlic (peel into separate cloves)
Sliced or Whole Shitake mushrooms
200g enoki mushrooms (not in the usual recipes but I love them!)
1/2-1 cup Gojiberries (if not already pre-packed, we love it so we always add more)
4 tbsp dark soy sauce (or oyster sauce if not available)
1 cube of chicken stock
1 large pot of water (about 1-1.5L)


  1. Marinate spare ribs in dark soy sauce for about 1 hour.
  2. Boil chicken stock, pre-packed herbs, gojiberries and garlic cloves in large pot of boiling water water.
  3. Add in marinated spare ribs and Shitake mushrooms then let soup simmer for at least 2 hours.
  4. Add cut & washed enoki mushrooms about 10 minutes before serving.
  5. Serve hot. You can add a dash of pepper for taste.
Like I said, idiot-proof, right? haha

I don't own a thermal pot and I forgot to borrow my mum's one so I had to simmer on the stove for hours. Such a waste of gas.. bleh. If you do own a thermal pot, just bring it to boil for about 20-25 mins and you can just leave it in the thermal pot for the min 2hrs. Oh ya, sometimes I will add tofu or egg tofu..


The Charm of Home said...

This soup looks wonderful! I wish I had more Chinese recipes, my family loves it. This would be a hit at my house. Thanks for sharing your recipe. Come back! I love your blog. Thanks for linking it at Home Sweet Home!

SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime said...

Hi, Sakura! You've got so much creativity here and I'm admiring them all. Can you please share your creative posts at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop? Hope to see you there :)

Bali Tour said...

This is great article
Thank you for the recipe
I will try to cook