Bak Kut Teh

All-in-One Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶)


assorted Bak Kut Teh

“Assorted Bak Kut Teh, Healthy and Balance Diet Meal”

We love Bak Kut Teh.

Bak kut teh, in Hokkien dialect, translates as “meat bone tea”. Bak kut teh dish consists of pork ribs cooked in a Chinese herbs and spices broth for hours. Traditionally, such meaty bone or pork ribs broth is served with Chinese tea. Hot Chinese tea has to be taken after this meat-laden dish, to help to remove the oil and fat within the mouth as well as stomach. Hence, it is called as “meat bone tea” aka Bak kut teh.

Just the ribs in broth is not good enough as 1-dish-meal. I cooked it with other ingredients such as varieties of mushrooms, bean curd skin, fried tofu puff, and lettuce. Bak Kut Teh is often served with fried fritter (“You Tiao“) for dipping into the soup. Yummy… you simply cannot resist the fragrance of this crispy Yu Tiao with hot Bak kut teh soup.

Bak Kut Teh soup is made of Chinese herbs and spices. However, there are many ready-packed Bak kut teh spices widely available at supermarkets and grocery stores. Most of these ready packages contain powder form spieces in 2 separate sealed packets in it. Simply add 1 or 2 packets of such powdered spices into the soup together with the meat and other ingredients, a flavoursome and robust meat broth will be ready and served in minutes.

It should be easier to get the Chinese herbs from Chinese medical shops. Just give them the list or simply tell them you need herbs for bak kut teh. If you were to get ready-packed ones for convenient sack, try A1 brand, if you like dark-coloured herbal soup, or this Singapore flavoured soup without taste of herbs from ILC Trading, if clear peppery soup is preferred. The later option is my favourite as I love its pungent aroma and taste of white pepper in the soup. If you are one that do not like the strong taste of Chinese herbs, this should also be the best option for you.

1 handful of Chinese herbs consist of:
Garden Angelica (Dang Gui – 当归)
Radix Codonopsis Pilosulae ( Dangshen – 党参)
Solomon’s Seal Rhizome (Yu Zhu – 玉竹)
Sclerotium Poriae Cocos ( Fu ling – 茯 苓)
Lovage Root (Chuang Xiong – 川芎)
Cinnamon (Gui Pi – 桂皮)
Star anise (Ba Jiao – 八角)

1 packet of ready packed Bak kut teh herbs ( I chose A1 Brand)

600 gram of meaty pork ribs and/or prime ribs
1 cup of dried Chinese shitake mushroom, soaked and stem removed
1 cup of button mushroom
1 cup of fried tofu puff aka “Tao Pok” (chinese translation: 豆仆)
2 strips of dried bean curd skin aka “Fu Zhu” (chinese translation: 腐竹), cut into shorter strips
Handful of lettuce leaves, soaked for 15 min
1 – 2 whole garlic, with skin intact
1 pot of water, 50% filled (about 2000ml)

2 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
2 tablespoon of oyster sauce
4 tablespoon of light soy sauce
Pinch of salt

1 pair of fried fritters (flour dough) aka “You Tiao”, cut into pieces
Cut chili padi in dark soy sauce, as dipping sauce

1) Blanch pork ribs in boiling water.

2) Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Place pork ribs, Shitake mushroom, Chinese herbs (or the spice packet) and whole garlic into the boiling water to cook over medium fire, for 30 min.

3) Add in button mushroom, “Tao Pok” and “Fu Zhok“. Boil for another 10 min.

4) When pork rib is cooked and tender, stir in seasoning i.e. dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, and salt.

5) Put in lettuce, before heat off. Serve hot with “You Tiao” and dipping sauce.


Using slow-cooker method, and for extra tenderness….

If you are rushing out for work in the morning and wish to have a bowl of delicious hot and tender meat broth as dinner in the evening, use my ‘slow-cooker” method:

1) Put all ingredients, except for lettuce, and herbs & spices (or spices packet) into croak pot. Place croak pot into slow cooker, and set heat to auto-shift.

2) When you reach home in the evening, stir in seasoning. Place lettuce.

3) Serve hot when you are ready for this delicious hot meal.

A bowl of assorted Bak Kut Teh counts about 400kcal.

Tips: Serve with dark say sauce with cut chili padi and minced garlic as dipping sauce.

* If you are getting any other brand of ready-packed Bak Kut Teh spices, add seasoning with the direction stated on its packaging. Most of the time, it does not required extra seasoning other than drizzles of dark soy sauce.
* Soak dried Chinese Shitake mushrooms for extra time (1 hour), and even pre-boil them for 30 min, if you wish to reduce the natural taste of these mushrooms in the soup.
*Alternatively, choose fresh Shitake mushrooms instead.
*Reduce the amount of garlic (to one or even half whole garlic will do), if you are using slow-cooker method. The garlic taste will be completely intermingled with the soup after long hour boil, and hence, over-whelming.

Related Posts

Honeymato pork chop
Main Dishes

Simple HoneyMato Pork Chop

“Special ‘HoneyMato’ pork chop, simple but superlicious!” This is a super simple and delicious pork chop dish. You may make this pork chop for rice

Read More »

13 Responses

  1. I agree that you need to specify the brand of the BKT spices pre-mixes.

    I like A1 and ILC too. Some of the other brands really cannot make it but then again each person tastes differently.

    However, I disagree with adding mushrooms to BKT. The taste clashes with the garlic and pepper.

    Again, I guess different people have different taste preference.

  2. Yes, taste varies from people to people. I agree with you that chinese shitake mushroom might taste a little too strong in bak kut teh soup. Many people do not really like mushroom taste.

    However, I have method to reduce its taste, if you do not favour it:
    Pre-soaked the mushrooms with extra longer time (1 hour), squeeze dry the soaked mushrooms. Pre-boil them separately (for 30 min), before adding into the soup. This works well to me.

    Otherwise, add only button mushrooms which do not have extra and strong taste by nature, button mushrooms really go well in bak kut teh soup.

    My girl loves them, while hubby loves the Chinese Shitake mushroom in it!

  3. spymama loves bak kut teh.. if you like, the one at Balestier is very popular. Founders bak kut teh… i cook using the Seah’s brand cos it is light and peppery too. I love mushrooms in it but like Patrica said the mushrooms do change the bkt flavour a bit.. so i usually cook double pot, one with few types of mushrooms.. i’m hungry now!

  4. Seems like u manage to cook even u are a working. I always cant find time to cook unless i wake up early in the morning to prepare soup then reach home i got to rush to prepare dinner. *faint*

    Really envy u.

  5. Hi,

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. Did you use fresh or canned button mushrooms? My hubby and I love mushrooms in our dishes too!

    I’m curious as to why the lettuce require soaking. Was it to remove pesticides or improve its crispiness?



  6. Hi , i accidentally pour the herbs powder directly in to the soup coz i thought its paper and might also damaged if not removed , is it okay? ? Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.