Thursday, 9 October 2008

Bak Kut Teh - Herbal Pork Stew

A pot of delicious pork rib soup for our lunch!! Yum Yum! This soup is called Bak Kut Teh (literally translated as pork rib tea). It is very well-known locally and also in Singapore.

Many types of Chinese medicinal herbs are added into the soup to make it fragrant, delicious and flavourful. The main ingredients for Bak Kut Teh are pork ribs, maw, intestines and meat. Chinese mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, straw or button mushrooms, beancurd puff and vegetables are the accompanying ingredients. There is even the dried version Bak Kut Teh, where dried squid and dried chillies are added, giving it an intense and spicy flavour. One can also have the seafood or chicken version of Bak Kut Teh. But the most delicious one would still be the original one, i.e. pork Bak Kut Teh.

It is believed that this dish was first made in the early 1900s for Chinese immigrant coolies working at the port in Klang. Due to the coolies tough job, Chinese medicinal herbs are added into boiled soup to supplement their meagre diet and act as tonic to boost their health.

This popularity of this soup has spread to Chinese in Hong Kong and Mainland China who had tasted it. In fact nowadays it is easy to concoct this soup in our home kitchen as the medicinal herbs required for Bak Kut Teh are now available in many local grocery shops or supermarkets.

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