Saturday 28 November 2009

Bak Kuet Teh

Bak Kuet Teh is one of the popular Chinese soup found in Asia countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and etc. In Singapore there are mainly 3 different types of Bak Kuet Teh and the Teochew version is more popular with patrons with its light color soup base that is more pepper in taste. Whereas for the Hokkien who prefer stronger taste soy sauce is added which results a darker soup. But as for Cantonese extra Chinese herbs, gingok nuts and etc are added to create a stronger flavoured soup.

No matter which version you prefer or dine-in at local hawker stalls to high class restaurant, I am sure you will find something that suits you. But instead of eating out some might want to prepare a home version with additional ingredients like meatball, pork liver and etc.

For Singaporean who works or station overseas for a long time, I believed cooking this hometown food is always something that you desire. I remember those days when I was away from home in Australia for almost 2 years, I miss this soup terribly especially during cold winter night. In this recipe I actually combine both the Teochew and Cantonese version together by adding extra Peppercorns and Chinese Herbs to enhance the flavour (you can omit the herbs but try to add in some white peppercorns for that "hot" flavour).

This is a simple and yet delicious soup to prepare especially for busy working mum or Singaporean who works overseas. All you need is to grab some spare ribs, white peppercorns and a pack of Bak Kuet Teh spices from "Seah's Spices" from any leading supermarket in Singapore. As for overseas friends try to look out the bak kuet teh spices from any Asian grocery stores in over at your end. 

Ingredient: (serves 4)
1 Packet of Seah's Bak Kuet Teh Spices
1kg of Spare Ribs/Pork Ribs
1 Cluster of Garlic
3 Small Onion, cut into wedges
1 Tablespoon of White Peppercorns
1 Tablespoon of Wolfberries
5g of Yuzhu (玉竹)
1 Litre of Water

1. Wash, trim and blanch spare ribs in boiling water for about 3 minutes.  Removed, rinse and set aside. 

2. Preheat a stock pot with 1 teaspoon of oil, saute garlic and onion till fragrant before adding in spare ribs and give it a quick toss and cook for 30 seconds.

3. Next add in 1 litre of hot water, when the mixture comes to boil drop in the spice pack, white pepercorns and yuzhu. 

4. When the soup boils let it simmer for about 5 minutes before transferring it to a slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 1 hours, add in the wolfberries and continue to cook for another 30 minutes or so. (give the soup a stir once or twice in between the cooking time to evenly distribute the taste of the spices)

Alternatively you can cook this soup on low heat over the stove for about 45 minutes to an hour.

6. Serve with steamed rice and cut chilli with dark soy sauce.

- Place the peppercorns inside a soup bag, rinse it in water, and crushed lightly with the back of the knife or a mug.

For extra bites and greens I prepared some stir-fry kailan with olive oil and minced garlic without adding any oyster sauce then finished off with handful of crispy white baits.


  1. Love Bak Kuet Teh ... your pictures make me so so hungry Ellene :o)

  2. Yum, yum! I personally prefer the Hokkien style which is more popular in Malaysia.

  3. Hi Lai Chen and Jo, thanks for the comments :) Although they are so many delicious version of Bak Kuet Teh around...but i still prefer homemade type :) which i can add whatever ingredients i love :)

  4. I love all the types of bak kut teh and yours too.

  5. I haven't tried seah brand before and it looks good! gonna buy a pack to try. currently using starflower brand and it's my family's favourite :)

  6. Hi,

    Can I know what brand of slow cooker do u use? I am throwing mine away as the soup tastes bland even after overnight cooking. Also the water level will drop by half. Understand that a good slow cooker will retain the water and flavour. I love soup but do not have the right equipment for cooking soup. Also how do u double boil soup?


  7. Hi Sis Ellena,

    I;ve an award for you! Pls pick it up at :-


    P/s : Yummy Bak kut Teh!

  8. Hi foodlovee, thanks for popping by :)

    Hi noobcook, do give this brand a try... it's nice as it not a very strong or salty combination. Em... mb i shall try out your starflower brand too... :)

    Hi Junhucha, basically any brand of slow cooker will do. I used the toyomi brand i think.. and u must remember, when you cook soup in slow cooker, try to use boiling water instead of normal temp water. I place a ceremic pot inside the slow cooker with hot water outside the ceremic pot to double-boiled. HTH

    Yo tona sister, Will try to pick it up when i am free... :) Thanks for the award :)

  9. Where can I buy SEAH'S five spice chicken wing seasoning. It is amazing but very hard to find, especially in the U.K.

  10. Hi Anonymous: I can u can order from seah's website. Mb u can send in your email or drop me an email with your UK mailing address i shall send u a pack or two to try on :) my email address is Cheers!

  11. Hi may I know where can I buy this from Singapore ?

  12. Your food looks so tempting, I LOVE IT!


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Ellena (Cuisine Paradise)