When it comes to Bak Kut Teh, I’m team peppery. Unlike Malaysian-style which is infused with lots of herbs, Singapore-style Bak Kut Teh leans towards a lighter color soup with a robust peppery note.
As the star of this dish is pork rib, I like to use fresh pork ribs or also known as spare ribs as they are more succulent and tender. I also highly recommend everyone to use old garlic as the flavor profile is more intense than fresh garlic. If you can’t find it at your area, fresh garlic would be the second option. The warm garlicky taste is also the signature aroma of Singapore-style Bak Kut Teh.
500g pork ribs (also called spare ribs) – long cut for Bak Kut Teh
20 cloves old garlic – unpeeled
80g to 100 g white peppercorn
1 stick cinnamon
1 star anise
1 tbsp salt
1 ltr pork / chicken stock
800 ml water
2 tsp MSG (optional)
Fried you tiao fritters
serves 3 to 4
Place old garlic into a dry pan and toast over low heat to release its fragrance. Be careful not to burn it.
Remove and set aside. Use the same pan to toast the white peppercorn until fragrant.
Lightly pound the peppercorn if you prefer your soup to be more peppery and spicy. If not, just leave them whole.
Place peppercorn, star anise and cinnamon into a stock pouch.
Fill half of a large pot with water and bring to boil.
Place pork ribs into the boiling water and blanch for 5 mins.
Remove the ribs and wash to remove excess scum and blood.
Wash and rinse the pot and fill with pork stock and water.
Add in pork ribs, garlic, spice bag and bring to boil.
Cover and simmer over medium low heat or 1.5 hrs or until the meat is fork tender.
Add in salt and stir well. Taste and adjust with more seasoning if needed.