Monday, January 21, 2008

Bak Kut Tea, according to Lisa


I have to share this fantastic soup that I made for our massive 13-course dinner. It's originally a Singaporean soup, according to Lisa Förare Winbladh who was kind enough to let me share this recipe with you. It's from her latest cookbook, and you can find it in Swedish at Lisa's site Taffel.

She says that it can be totally improvised, but for once, I followed her recipe almost to the letter. And I was extremely happy with the results.

I sieved my soup, but you don't have to - it looks nice with the spices floating around in it too, but you need to be a bit cautious when you eat in that case. I also picked all the meat from the bones, as I felt it was easier to serve. Do as you like.

It does have some exotic ingredients - red dates was actually the only thing I didn't have at home (well, that and the meat) but I found some at an Asian supermarket. Goji berries are also known as wolfberries, and you can learn more here. My local health food store has them.

Bak Kut Tea
Serves at least 6-8

1 kilo thin pork spareribs
500 g thick pork spareribs
50 ml light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 star anise
1 tsp black peppercorns
3 cloves
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large cinnamon stick
6 jujube-dates (also known as red dates, sold dried)
1 tbsp concentrated veal stock
1 tsp sichuan peppercorns
1 tbsp brown sugar
neutral oil for frying

To serve:
zest of one tangerine
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp goji berries
2 tbsp light soy sauce
black pepper or chilli flakes, to taste

Cut the ribs into smaller pieces - I still kept them quite large as I planned to strip the meat off them anyway. Let them marinate in the light soy sauce for at least two hours.

Fry the ribs on the oil until they're well browned all over.

Bring two liters of water to boil in a large pot, with all of the other ingredients for the soup, except for the ribs. Add the ribs when it's boiling, lower the heat and let simmer, covered, for at least two hours. The meat should pretty much be falling off the bones, and be very tender. Add more water if you need to.

Remove the ribs, and pick off all the meat. Sieve the soup into a clean pot, and discard the spices. Put the meat back in the soup.

When you're ready to serve, add the zest of a tangerine, and a whole garlic clove to the pot. You can score the garlic clove beforehand, but don't cut all the way through as you want to be able to remove it. Bring the whole thing to a boil, add a few splashes of light soy sauce and add black pepper or chilli flakes if you want more heat. Fish out the whole garlic clove again before serving.


lisa said...

Åh, vilken fin bild det blev!

The Öbergs said...

Where is the local Asian food store? My local stores don't even carry wonton wrappers :-(

Lena said...

Ooo... yes, this was a really good soup. I have to remember it the next time I get a cold, it will be a perfect combination of comfort and pick me up food.

Anne said...

Monica - well, not especially local really, but well stocked: try China Market on Olof Palmes Gata, right near Hötorget. There's another store across the street from it as well. I'll be happy to go shopping with you :)

jim said...

hihi i from singapore this dish in our country is very popular dish , every 1 love , this is also a herber soup . good for healthy .

qtmeow said...

I'm from singapore too but I don't remember the zest of a tangerine and the veal stock. I do remember 10 cloves of garlic instead. And there're actually types of herbs and spices than stated.

Anne said...

qtmeow - ooh, I'd love to try another version as well. More garlic sounds good!

Lisa said...

There are numerous versions of the soup. This is my personal take on the soup with ingredients that are not to difficult to find. In my book it is called "Bak Kut Tea as in Hornstull" (my neighbourhood).

karlsfoodie said...

wow.. bak kut teh
Thsi is comfort food fo rme on cold days back in Sweden.

Do u want a pack of the ready pack spice to try?I can always send u 1 =)

Anne said...

There's a spice pack? I know I shouldn't be surprised, but I am :) How convenient!

karlsfoodie said...

yes yes.. thats y we r spoil rotten.. we never bother to do it from scratch =)

there are various brands too.

daphne said...

nice! This is such a popular dish among Singaporeans and Malaysians. Glad u gave it a go *thumbs up*