Monday, 11 November 2013

Home Cooked Bak-Kut-Teh/Herbal Pork Ribs Soup (肉骨茶)

Home cooked or brewed bak-kut-teh is very easy and simple to prepare.  If you do not like to take the trouble to get the full prescription of the herbs from the Chinese Medical shop, there are pre-packed  bak-kut-teh herbs and spices available too.  
I never stick to a particular brand of pre-packed bak-kut-teh and would try whichever that catch my attention during our casual shopping.  Besides, I also like to stock up a few pre-packed of bak-kut-teh and it comes in handy when I run out of ideas what soup to cook for my family.   Sun Kee pre-packed is also one of our favorites.
Previously, when cooking bak-kut-teh using pre-packed herbs and spices, I just 'dumped'  the sachets into the pot without any additional herbs or spices.  However, when I came across Boon's Little Kitchen Cookbook, I learned something new!  I added pieces of dang gui (Radix Angelica) and wow... the soup definitely tastes so much better as dang gui itself  is sweet, pungent and bitter in taste.  One of the many advantages of dang gui is it benefits the digestive system by maintaining proper metabolism and improved immune functioning. By boosting immunity, the herb also helps to protect our body from various diseases and infections. However, men, be cautioned! Dang gui can be very 'heaty' for some men and have it moderately as 'overdosed' of dang gui will see you having fever and even nose bleeding!
(Recipe according to Boon's Little Kitchen Cookbook page 95, with minor modifications in red)
Ingredients (A) : 
-1kg shin (I omitted this)
- 2 spare ribs (1kg, blanched)
- 1 pc pork belly (I omitted)
Ingredients  (B) :
- 6 big bulbs smoked garlic (unpeeled)
- 2 sachets pre-packed bak-kut-teh
- 10gm sweet dang gui head (I used 4 thin slices only)
- 3 litres water
Seasonings : (to taste)
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 60g rock sugar (I omitted)
- 1 tsp salt
Method :
1)  Bring water to a boil.  Add in ingredients (A) and (B). 
2)  Bring it to another boil. Lower heat and cook for 45 minutes.
3)  Add in seasonings and bring to a rapid boil.
4)  Turn to low heat and simmer for another 45 minutes.
5)  Serve hot with steamed rice.
Simple and nutritious soup

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