I had a sachet of A1 Soup Spices tucked away in a kitchen drawer, given to me by Jonathan during my visit to A.K. Koh Enterprise, the makers of A1 products. I had told myself that I would make Bak Kut Teh with it, one day. So, since today is a chilly and rainy day, and I wanted to stay indoors, I decided that today is the right day for homemade Bak Kut Teh.
This is the A1 Soup Spices sachet. A1 Soup Spices is certified Halal and is equally suitable for making herbal soup with chicken.
Tearing open the sachet, a whiff of herbal fragrance escaped through the slit. It smelled like perfume to those who like herbs and was actually quite seductive :) The powdered herbs were held in sachets just like tea bags.
For this post, I followed the instructions on the back of the sachet to the letter. I added soya sauce and oyster sauce as instructed, hence the soup looked like tea. I did not add any MSG. After bringing the water and sachets of spices to boil, the meat was cooked for 30 minutes in medium heat. The aroma from the boiling herbal brew filled the kitchen and quickly spread to the whole house.
The homemade Bak Kut Teh garnished with a little spring onion - ready to serve. These pre-packed soup spices really simplify life a lot.
I like my ribs with a little fat attached. Made with fresh pork ribs, the meat was tender and can be stripped off the bone very easily.
The soup was quite good though it was nothing like Sze Hwa or Ah Soon. Still, I am quite happy with the results and how simple it is to make this classic comfort dish even for people who have no cooking experience - I am thinking of Malaysian/ Singaporean students overseas. These pre-packed herbs can really be a life saver :)
I am confident that with a little tweaking I can bring the taste closer to the big name Bak Kut Teh shops :) Adding mushrooms and peppercorns would help. The next time I try this, I will skip the soya sauce and oyster sauce, and make the Singaporean style peppery version.
(Note: I have not affiliation with A.K. Koh Enterprise and did not recieve any fee for this post or any post in Johor Kaki blog.)