Bak ku teh (pork rib tea soup)

Yield: 4 servings

Measure Ingredient
1 pounds Pork back ribs, chopped into 2-inch lengths
1 large Clove garlic, crushed
6 cups Water
1 \N Stick cinnamon
2 tablespoons Crisp Fried Shallot Flakes
\N \N Soy sauce and thinly sliced red chiles for dipping
3 \N Whole star anise
1 teaspoon Whole white peppercorns
1½ teaspoon Sugar
3 teaspoons Salt
3 tablespoons Dark soy sauce, or to taste
2 \N Chinese crullers, sliced (Optional)
\N \N Steamed white rice


I think the only "Singaporean" dish I have is one for a curried noodle dish known as Singapore Noodles every where in Asian except Singapore where they never seem to have heard of it. Stay tuned though. I'll see what I can come up with.

Well, it's a little later and we're in luck! I found three Singapore recipes in Joyce Jue's "Asian Appetizers". Here's da foist...

Although most Asian lunches and dinners include a soup, there are certain soups which are served as a snack or even for breakfast. In Singapore, one of my favorite ways to start a day is to trek over to a hawker's stall and have a bowl of pork rib "tea" (actually a clear soup tinted with soy sauce). It comes with Chinese crullers for dunking, and a strong black tea which I think of as the "espresso" of teas. This recipe comes from the Straits Cafe in San Francisco. The crullers, baguette-shaped fried savory pastries, may be purchased at better Asian markets.

1. Combine the pork, garlic, and water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Skim and discard the scum from the surface. Add the cinnamon, star anise, peppercorns, sugar, salt, and soy sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the pork is tender, about 45 minutes. Discard the excess fat from the soup before serving.

2. Serve the soup in deep bowls with 3 to 4 rib pieces per serving and shallot flakes scattered over the top. Combine soy sauce and chiles to taste in small bowls as a dipping sauce for the ribs. Serve with cruller slices for dunking into the broth, and a bowl of rice on the side.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

CRISP FRIED SHALLOT AND GARLIC FLAKES: Cut 8 shallots or garlic cloves crosswise into ⅛-inch-thick slices; you should have ¾ cup of slices. The slices must all be of equal thickness to assure even cooking. Heat 2 cups of vegetable oil to 300F in a preheated wok, saucepan, or skillet. Add the slices and fry slowly for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. They should be completely dry with no remaining moisture. Remove with a fine strainer and drain on paper towels. When cool, store in an airtight container. The flakes will keep for several weeks. Makes about ½ cup.

Makes about ½ cup.

NOTE: The flavored oil can be strained and used for stir-frying.

From "Asian Appetizers" by Joyce Jue, Harlow and Ratner, 1991. ISBN 0- ISBN 0-9627345-1-9.

Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; December 8 1992.

Similar recipes