Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Highlight #232: homemade bak kut teh

Bak kut teh, meaning tea bone soup, actually contains no tea, but is rather consumed with tea. Because of its intense savory taste, high nutrition value, and medicinal properties, it has become the post drinking comfort food of choice in Singapore. I didn't get to drink much in Singapore, but got bak kut teh as a homemade treat at Jason's aunt's. The basic recipe is so easy, I decided to DIY. Again, I don't measure much and simply do by feel.

First, boil a little over a lb of ribs in enough cold water to cover. Remove the scum from the top and drain. Put the ribs back in the pot with about 5 cloves of garlic, 1 thumb sized portion of Chinese angelica (dong gui), about 2 tbsp of whole black peppercorn, a couple of tsp of sugar, about 5 whole star anise, about 1 tsp of salt, about 3 tbsp of dark soy sauce, and maybe 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for an hour uncovered or until the ribs are tender. Skim again and season the soup with salt, sugar, and dark soy.

When serving, make a dipping source for the ribs from sweet soy sauce and fresh ground chilies.

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