Sunday, 6 December 2009
Cooking bak kut teh
Cooking bak kut teh (peppery pork rib soup) in my household is quite a clandestine operation. It begins with lighting a charcoal fire in the balcony behind the kitchen.
When it comes to eating bak kut teh, I want the meat to fall off the bone and melt in the mouth. I believe the best way to achieve this is to cook over a slow charcoal fire.
Believe me, lighting a charcoal stove in an apartment is by no means an easy task. Starting a fire is easy (and safe) but it is impossible to control the amount of smoke generated during the initial start-up.
It can be quite nerve wrecking. I pray for less smoke and even less neighbours hanging around outside. I peer below to find a middle-aged woman waiting for a friend. She didn't seem bothered by the smoke. Nobody raised an alarm. I willed for the charcoal to turn into glowing hot coals quickly. That's when the smoking stops and the cooking begins.
I placed my pot on the stove and soon, the peppery smell of bak kut teh fills the air. I can't wait to taste the tender ribs and tasty soup tonight. It's worth the effort!