Home > Cooking, Food and drink > Food: Pork Rib Tea (Bak Kut Teh)

Food: Pork Rib Tea (Bak Kut Teh)


Pork Rib Tea in Singapore is really a soup made from Pork ribs, and simmered forever and forever on a slow fire. Google it and you’ll see folks in Singapore and Malaysia waxing lyrical about it.

I wanted to make this to see if I could. After all, it’s just pork, garlic, peppercorns and water. Easy enough. Not quite.

Bones make the soup. Remember it!

You’ll see why in a bit.

This recipe was mashed-up from Chinese Soup Pot | Daily Cook Quest | Makansutra | Pee Por
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Pork Rib Tea

Preparation Time

2 hours 45 min

You’ll Need These Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg of Pork Ribs
  • 2 cups of garlic
  • 1/3 cup of white peppercorns
  • A bunch of herbs (see below)
  • 2 tablespoon Salt
  • 5L of Water
  • Add ons: Beancurd Skin and Tao Pok

The Missing Ingredients

  • 1 kg of Pork bones
  • Prime ribs


Top Left: 1.5 kg of Pork Ribs
Top Right: Peppercorns
Bottom Left: Herbs
Bottom Right: Herb names
Bottom: Garlic

Instructions and “Did it Work?”

1. Scald the Pork Ribs

Bring a pot of water to a boil and dump your ribs in it. Leave it for 5 minutes or so.

You’ll find that there will brown gunk floating on the water. That’s blood from the ribs and we want to get rid of it to get a (relatively) clear soup.


Once blanched, extract and rinse under water.


2. Roast the Garlic and Peppercorns

Roast them with the shells. For peppercorns, smash it up a little so that you’ll get a bit of powder too. I did this to break down the flavours and give soup a wok-ky taste.

Tip: When roasting, start bringing a pot of water to boil. It’ll take some time.


Black bits are OK!


3. Boil and Simmer!

The easiest part.

Chuck garlic, peppercorns, herbs into the pot first and let them simmer for 10 minutes.


Then in go the pork ribs.

Bring to a roiling boil for 10 minutes and let simmer for 2 hours. Turn off the heat, let stand and heat up before serving.


4. Serve with Add-ons

Before serving, add whatever you want. Serve in a bowl with chilli-soy sauce.


Wending Verdict on Bak Kut Teh

It’s full of aroma from the spices and herbs. And the pork slides off the bones like butter on a hot knife.

However, the soup was thin on mouth feel. That’s why pork bones would make the difference in making all so thick and hearty.

Also, cut back on the peppercorns to 1/4 cup. Otherwise, it’ll overpower the soup with peppery pepperness.

Lessons: always make stock.

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