Bah Kut Teh, Eh?

One of the questions I was asked by DiningOutbytheBay.com was what food or dish I can eat every day for the rest of my life.

The answer: BAH KUT TEH.

Traditionally, the dish consists of pork ribs simmered in a rich, spicy broth until the meat practically falls off the bone. It’s ideally served with plain white rice, which absorbs all of the porky, garlicky, peppery goodness.

However, being the recipe-tinkerer that I am, I’ve made a couple of adjustments:

  • I use a five-pound pork shoulder instead of ribs, It is cheaper, less fatty (well, the fat is easily trimmed off), has no bones, and lasts a few days. Mmmm… Leftovers!
  • I sear the meat on all sides before adding water. Doing so gives it that pretty caramelization.

A step-by-step pictorial how-to:

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By this point, your kitchen, if not your entire house will be filled with the heady aroma of bah kut teh that will have you salivating.

But you’re not done yet!

You will now need a vessel on which to ferry all of that amazing flavor to your mouth. Here’s how to make my tweaked recipe for white rice, based on what my mom taught me:

  1. Rinse plain white rice with cold water twice. (Do not pour water directly on the rice grains. It is important to remove only the excess starch without damaging the grains).
  2. Add room temperature-to-warm broth to the rice in the ratio of 2:2.5 (or whatever your package of rice recommends). It tastes sooooo much better than using plain water!
  3. Over high heat, bring the rice and water to a boil uncovered. Cover and turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Set the timer to 20 minutes (or whatever your package of rice recommends).
  4. When you lift the lid, there should not be any bubbling on the surface. Fluff the rice with a fork (it breaks up the grains better than a spoon) to release excess moisture and it’s ready to be eaten!
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This succulent morsel is ready to head south.

You can find bah kut teh spices at any Asian grocery store. 99 Ranch in El Cerrito has maybe three brands for about $3.50 a packet and I’ve seen them in SF’s Chinatown at $2.50 each.

Please leave a comment if you have tried it or have your own recipe!

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