Friday, August 26, 2011

Merdeka Open House 2011: Makan Through Malaysia: Klang Bak Kut Teh


Bak Kut Teh or 肉骨茶 or "meat bone tea" is a mixture of complex Chinese herbs, garlic and spices pair with pork ribs and simmer for hours.  Tenderloins, pork intestines, mushrooms, fried tofu puffs are sometimes added.  A handful of lettuce would be added into the soup just before serving.  It is believed that Hokkien preferred saltier food and thus more soy sauce was added and created the darker soup base.  Another variety is Teochew which has the lighter soup base and more white pepper is added (Singaporean seem to prefer this).  As for Cantonese, they loved a stronger flavored soup by adding more medicinal herbs into their bak kut teh.   The well known condiments for bak kut teh are red chili, chopped garlic in light or dark soy sauce.  Chinese fried dough stick or yu tiao can be ordered as side.  Hot water and tea would be offered along side to wash down the oily broth soup.

The history of Bak Kut Teh as quoted in wikipedia, "Bak kut teh was introduced to Malaya in the 19th century by Chinese coolies and workers of Hokkien origin. The dish is reported to supplement the meager diet of port coolies and as a tonic to boost their health. The Teochews came later and the main visual difference between the Hokkien and Teochew version of bak kut teh is that the Hokkiens use dark soy sauce and thus the soup base is characteristically darker in colour.


Klang Bak Kut Teh or 巴生肉骨茶 is a popular Malaysian breakfast.  I remembered my dad would drive us all the way to Klang for its Bak Kut Teh every Sunday morning.  The place that we frequented many years ago situated behind a Chinese temple (I later learned that it was a Hokkien Association Building) in an enclosed open area.  It was run by a husband and wife team.  I am not sure whether it is still there or not after almost two decades (can anyone confirm?).  The business was good back then and it served the Hokkien version of Bak Kut Teh (one with dark soy sauce).   My dad would bring his own tea leaves.  And it was our ritual to watch my dad carefully used the hot boiling water provided to clean the tea pot and each tea cups before pouring us our tea.  My dad would order the fried Yu Tiao (Chinese fried dough sticks) for us to dip into the soup and we would be really disappointed if they ran out of yu tiao as it was our favorite.  Another thing we liked about this place was they served with dark sweet soy sauce along with soy sauce for the chili and chopped garlic as condiment.  We fell in love with the sweet soy sauce condiment and even now I want my bak kut teh with sweet soy sauce.  Here, I served up my Klang Bak Kut Teh as I remembered it, with fried yu tiao, chili, chopped garlic in sweet soy sauce.  Alas!  I forgot to prepare a cup of green tea to go with it!

I am gladly submitting this post to Babe in the City ,who hosts the yearly Merdeka Open House on August 31st.  Feel free to click through the below link for more information.  All Malaysians, local or abroad are eligible to participate.  If not, go there on the 31st for the full roundup feast! 


merdeka logo


Ingredients:

1 packet of A1 Bak Kut Teh Herbs (60gm) (I guess I have an excuse to use the packet herbs since I am living abroad, :-P)
1 whole slab of ribs, cut
10 cloves of garlic
8 Chinese mushrooms, soften (optional)
5 oz of tofu puffs, cut in half (optional)
4 hard boiled eggs (optional)
10 tofu knots, soften (optional)
Seasonings per packet instruction (soy sauce, dark soy sauce, salt, chicken powder, etc)

Serve with:
Yu Tiao/ Chinese fried dough stick
Chili padi/ Thai bird eye chili
Chopped fresh garlic
ABC sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), or light soy sauce


Method:

Just cook everything per packet instruction.  I added hard boiled eggs, tofu knots, tofu puffs and Chinese mushroom into mine.  You can add whatever you prefer.  I simmered mine until the meat on the ribs fall off the bone soft, about 4 hours.  Serve with rice, yu tiao, chili, garlic and kecap manis.

19 comments:

Bits of Taste said...

This is awesome, I am staying near this area and I simple heart Klang Bah Kut Teh as it is simply mouth-watering!

Are you referring the Bah Kut Teh shop behind the Hokkien Association Building, nearby the highway? It did looks like Chinese temple. If this the one, I can tell you the shop is still there.

Do msg me if you happen to drop by....

Majid Ali said...

Please help me for Christ sake

Amelia's De-ssert said...

Delicious bak kut teh, yum yum

Sweet Jasmine said...

Bak kut teh is our family favorite dish. Yours is quite special with the hardboiled egg. My eldest boy dont like the ribs so I added a piece of pork belly to the ribs.

Little Corner of Mine said...

Oh yeah Bits of Taste, that was it!! So, it's a Hokkien Association Building! Wow, they are still there after so many years, the business must be good. I do wish to revisit this place when I go back again, to reminiscent my childhood memory. :)

Juliana said...

I never had anything like this...and sure would like to try. I love yu tiao...
Hope you hare a wonderful weekend :-)

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

pork ribs for breakfast... I am in!!!

Everybody Eats Well in Flanders said...

Your Ba Kut Teh looks very yummy. It is also my favourite dish. There are quite a number of bkt restaurants in Singapore, but I think they can't beat the authentic 巴生肉骨茶, Although I have never tasted it, I have heard of it so many times...wonder how is it different from the Singapore version?

rgds
Bee

daphne said...

Niceee!!! That looks awesome..and what a lovely story to go behind ig as well. With that bowl of rice.. and the deep fried dough. perfect ching..real perfect.

Mochachocolata Rita said...

loveeee bakuteh muchhhh...and i love the addition of shitake mushrooms there :D

babe_kl said...

I'm not a meat person but occasionally I will indulge in BKT :D

Thanks for participating in this year's Merdeka Open House. Do check back for the round up.

Little Corner of Mine said...

Everybody eats well in Flanders, you just have to make a trip to Klang to try the bak kut teh. :)

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

Love BKT! It's quite hard to find a good one though even in Klang! hehe

Quay Po Cooks said...

Your Bak Kut Teh looks very professional. Haiyah, you no need to go Klang to eat lah. Homemade is always the best, some more can eat in comfort in your own home. It is amazing how food always brings back fond memories of the past. When we eat Bak Kut Teh at home, my Quay Lo is the tea master:D

myfudo said...

Those mushroom looks sumptuous. I cannot let the week ends without this fantastic soup

chopinandmysaucepan said...

Looks really wonderful and to think I didn't even cook this one all winter this year :(

Shu Han said...

that looks so good! i think the hokkien version is the one with lots of herbs added, so it has a darker colour and herbal taste, not just because of the soy sauce! that's the version I like more, although my mum prefers the teochew version, which is also less fussy to make! (:

Shannon@JustAsDelish said...

Despite staying in the states, your BKT looks pretty authentic, with yutiao & chopped garlic in dark soya sauce :) Just like Quay Po, I always prefer to eat BKT in the comfort of my own home & extra ingredients!

rokh said...

i also made this before with the packet herbs that my dad got from his friend. still lip-smacking good i must say with us generously putting in the good ingredients :)