Thursday, January 21, 2016

Chinese New Year Cooking - Bak Kut Teh Fried Rice With Dry Bak Kut Teh Pork Ribs

Chinese New Year is around the corner, and every year, our household will take the time and effort to do our own cooking as it means more to prepare our own homecooked dishes as opposed to eating outside.

This year, I wanted to prepare something that is both traditional yet different. At the same time, I wanted something that everyone from the young to the old will enjoy.

I came up with the idea of Bak Kut Teh Risotto sometime back, and it proved to be a popular hit among my friends and family.

So, for this reunion dinner, I wanted this dish to be more traditional and stick more to its classic Chinese roots. Hence, I have modified the recipe to turn it into a more familiar and comforting fried rice version alongside my own favourite dry BKT pork ribs.

Ingredients for 6 pax:

1 pot or roughly 1.5ml water
6 prime pork ribs (preferrably dragon bone or long gu)
8 to 10 cloves garlic
2 cups of rice
4 ladyfingers
10 sticks of dried cuttlefish
2 egg yolks
3 portobello mushrooms
3 stalks of spring onion
6 cherry tomatoes
Oyster Sauce
White peppercorn
Black pepper
Light soya sauce
Dark soya sauce
Olive oil or oil of your choice


1. Fry about a handful of white peppercorn in a pot until the pepper flavours are released, roughly about 2 minutes.

2. Add the pork ribs into the pot and add a tablespoon of oil to sear the meat at high heat. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes.

Searing the Ribs

3. Add in the garlic (unpeeled and whole) and toss for about a minute or two. Add in the water and bring it a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce to medium heat and let it braise for 1.5 hours or until the meat is soft and tender.

4. Once the ribs are lightly bruised on the outside, the meat should be able to tear away from the bone easily. Remove the meat from the broth.

5. Add in salt and just a spoonful of soy sauce for seasoning. Add in a generous amount of black pepper to give it the peppery hit.

6. In a separate pan, chop another 2 cloves of garlic into slices and lightly sauté them with olive oil until they are fragrant and slightly translucent. Chop the ladyfingers into small chunks and add into the pan and toss for another minute or two.

Making the Dry BKT

7. Add in the pork ribs and mix well. Add a ladle of the bak kut teh broth into the mixture and let it reduce. Add in 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon of dark soya sauce and 1 teaspoon of light soya sauce and mix well.

8. Add in about 6 sticks of cuttlefish (halved) into the pan and stir well to mix everything up. Let the mixture reduce to a syrupy sauce consistency and set aside.

9. In a wok, add some olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the cooked rice. Overnight rice will be best as it is drier and hence, easier to cook.

10. Keep tossing the rice until it is well separated. Add in another 2 cloves of finely diced garlic, spring onion, cherry tomatoes and the mushrooms and mix well.

11. Add in one ladle of broth into the rice and let it absorb until the broth is totally infused. Once that is done, add in more ladle and repeat the same process until it is dry again.

12. Once the broth has been totally absorbed, each grain of the rice should be distinct and slightly fluffy. Season with salt and pepper for taste.

BKT Fried Rice

13. To finish, prepare the egg yolk mixture by thoroughly beating two yolks in a bowl. Turn off the heat from the pan, and immediately add in the yolks and stir well into the rice so that the eggs do not get scrambled.

14. To plate, simply plate the rice with a bowl and add in the dry bak kut teh ribs on the side. Serve the broth in a separate bowl to go along with the ribs and the rice.

15. Enjoy!

This makes for a very hearty and peppery dish for one and all. The rice should have that peppery hit too from the addition of the broth, but coupled with the additional flavours from the tomatoes and mushrooms, it should have some additional crunch too.

The dry bak kut teh should have a very bold and savoury note, and coupled with the dark syrupy sauce, will make for a great way to drench the rice in. This will make for a fantastic family dish.

A BKT Feast for CNY

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