I already have a bakuteh recipe but it is a Malaysian version and mostly comprises of spices and herbs. The soup are usually brownish and if you are interested, you can refer to this post: Pork Rib In Chinese Tea? – Spice Bakuteh (Bak Kut Teh) （香料肉骨茶）
But this is difference from the famous Singapore style Bakuteh that is believed to be the Teochew version. The soup are much clearer and most will simply describe it as a white peppercorn soup and the darker version from Malaysia is believed to be a Hokkien version that used herbs like Dangui etc.
The linkage between this white pepper soup with Teochew cuisines is rather logical. Teochew long have white pepper pig maw soup which was usually prepared during confinement period. Therefore, I will not be surprised if this is Teochew style of preparation who believed the medicinal benefits of white peppercorns.
I do not intend to issue this recipe as I deemed that it a rather easy recipe . However, I have many repeated request to share the recipe particularly from Hong Kong and Taiwan Facebook members who have very good impression of Singapore bakuteh. They are asking is it possible to cook at home if they do not have the ready pack Bakuteh spice bag? I told them it is possible and the recipe is much easier than what they thought. They said even if they have the spice bag, they don’t really cooked because it is quite spicy and i assured them that home cooked version have many ways to increase or decrease the spiciness.
In Singapore, a bowl of bakuteh sold like what is in the picture above is rather costly and can easily cost the diner more than S$5 per bowl for 2 pieces of prime ribs. That was the price years ago and I remembered the latest one I had cost me about S$7.50 for two pieces of pork ribs.
However, as it is costly, diners don’t only order meat items only and there are a lot of side dishes being served such as youtiao, braised peanuts, braised pork knuckles, or even fish fillet etc. Vegetables was sold either in soup form or stir fried version. They also sell noodles such as mee sua or flour vermicelli that comes with soup. Therefore, at home, you can consider what the store sold and prepare your side items. In this recipe, I will cut it short only related to the preparation of the meat.
Every store’s bakuteh will taste different so does every packet of premix will taste different. No body will know the best selling recipes as it was always a trade secret. Every stores will also plus and minus some spices such that they have an unique, optimal spice mix.
I have come with my own spice mix too. Sorry for not being humble, taste is rather close to the famous Ah Hua Bakuteh in Singapore. To say that it is exactly the same is definitely a lie and I believed that if their ex employees open a store selling the bakuteh may not be able to replicate exactly the same taste.
My basis is this famous Singaporean bakuteh shop and I can say that the taste is rather close with what I used to eat. Most may not know that my ex-office is opposite this famous bakuteh stalls and it is our entertainment venue to bring overseas guests to dine at the shop. At times, we ate at least once a week there..
There are many bakuteh spice bag in the market, why take the trouble to prepare your own? Well, at times, it is not convenient to buy from supermarket and most important of all is the ingredients. If you study the ingredients as stated in the spice bag, there are usually MSG. Just zoom in and you will see the words. In this illustration, I swear I did not add any seasonings except salt and I found that it is tasty enough.
As for the condiments, it is rather standard that it was served with red cut chilli dip in caramelized dark soya sauce.
This recipe is ultra simple that I think readers may doubt the tastiness of the soup .. If you have trust on my recipe, you can give it a try.. I have used pressure cooker to cook for 15 minutes and if you do not have one, you can always cook it over the stove.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings： 4=6 adult servings
- 1 kg of pork prime ribs (大排）
- 80 grams of white peppercorns (白胡椒粒）
- 10 grams of black peppercorns (黑胡椒粒）
- 2 pieces of licorice (甘草）
- 1/2 teaspoon of sichuan peppercorns (花椒)
- 1/2 teaspoon of five spice powder (五香粉）
- 6 garlics （蒜头）
- Salt to taste (盐巴）
- 1.5 litres of water (清水）
Optional ingredients (可免）
- 1 can of mushrooms （罐头蘑菇）
- 1 packet of brown beech mushrooms (蟹味菇）
- 1 packet of tang-o （茼蒿）
- 2 packets of Enoki mushrooms (金针菇）
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Pan fry the sichuan peppercorns, white peppercorns and black peppercorns until aromatic under medium heat. Use something heavy to break the peppercorns and transfer all the other ingredients to a soup bag. (if you do not want it to be spicy, you can just break a handful of the peppercorns. If you want it to be spicy, break the peppercorns as fine as you can. If you break all the peppercorn, it can be rather spicy. For my kid’s purpose, I only break half of the peppercorns. If it is not spicy enough, you can always as white pepper powder at the later stage.
- In a pot of hot boiling water, blanch all the pork ribs until the external is set and no more blood water. Rinse the pork rib under tap water to get rid of any scums.
- In a pressure cooker pot, put the garlics, pork ribs and the spice bag. Add 1.5 litres of water and pressure cook for 15 minutes. You can always boil the soup over the stove. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer until the pork rib is soft.
- For vegetables, transfer some soup over to another pot, bring to boil and add in the vegetables and mushrooms of your choice.
- Best served with hot steaming white rice and red cut chilli dipped in caramelized sticky dark soya sauce.
I hope this recipe will benefit overseas readers who do not have access to the spice bag.. These are common ingredients and taste is reasonable. Do give it a try and see if it suits your taste buds.
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