Bak Kuh Teh

Servings, Time, and Ingredients

Servings: 8+

Cooking Time: ~1 - 4 hours

  • 1 - 1.3kg Pork Ribs (Beef will do)
  • 2 Bak Kuh Teh Spice Sachets
  • 1 Bulb of Garlic
  • 1 Pack of Dried Shitake Mushrooms
  • 1 Bunch Enoki Mushrooms
  • Dark Soy Sauce
  • White Pepper

Nutritional Information

The following only serves as a guide. Actual figures will vary depending on specific ingredients used.

Protein: 25g

Fat: 24g

Carbs: 11g

If you’re not Malaysian, or you don’t know Malaysians, or haven’t been to SE Asia, you’ve probably never heard of it, and wondering what it is.

It’s translates as meat bone tea. It’s more or less some ribs cooked in water and herbs, oh the most delicious herbs, for a few hours, though can be achieved in less. Naturally the longer you cook it for, the better it tastes. It’s super easy to do, and is a good way to impress your friends.


The herbs used in Bak Kuh Teh are typically star anise, cloves, dang gui, fennel seeds, cinnamon, and garlic, so of course, you could make the mixture yourself, but it’s hard to find dang gui.

All good Asian grocers will carry similar to what is pictured, and the herbs are packaged within porous paper bags.

Do not empty the spices from the bags, throw the bags in whole

Step 1: Water

Place three liters of water, or more or less depending on what your herbs say, and bring it a rapid boil with the herb bags inside.

Step 2: Ribs

Use a sharp knife to cut down between the ribs so you have almost cube-like sections of bone and flesh.

When the smell of the herbs in the water is notable in the air, put the ribs into the pot, and reduce to a low heat.

Step 3: Garlic

Now with the meat slowly cooking away, crush up a bulb of garlic, breaking the cloves away, but leaving the skin on. Throw those in, too.

Step 4: Mushrooms

In most cases when you’d have Bak Kuh Teh in a restaurant or hawker stall, it’d come with tofu, which is not very keto, not very keto at all.

So of course, the best substitutes are mushrooms. Though Shitake mushrooms are ones you’ll mostly always find, I went with Enoki mushrooms as well, just for something a little texturally different.

Now is also a great time to add a little dark soy to the mixture, but not too much! Read your labels to make sure it’s carb safe. But a few splashes in 3L of water, I think it’ll be ok 🙂

Step 5: Waiting

You can cook this all for an hour, or even more, there’s really no limit. The pork will hit optimal tenderness at about one hour because it’s quite fatty. Of course, and as mentioned earlier, the longer the better.


Look at all that amazing, glistening fat, on the surface, wow!

Add a little chili for some punch, or even a dash more soy, light or dark, to meet your tastebuds.

3 comments on “Bak Kuh Teh”

  • Chris2048

    Hey Aaron,

    I’m preparing to make this Bak Kut Teh, I have a few questions if you don’t mind?

    One of the packs of spices I got comes with dry strips of some root, might be ginger – what is this for?

    Some recipes online mention dark+light soy, oyster sauce and (ji) wolfberry; Are these ingredients keto-friendly, and would they help if added?


    • Aaron

      Hey Chris,

      Of course. If there’s roots included, it’s most likely that you’d put those in while it cooks.

      Dark and light soy, but particularly dark, really add to it I find. They’re keto friendly in moderation, as they do have some sugar in them, but you also don’t need a lot of them for flavor, they’re super potent. The wolfberry though, I’m not sure on, I’ve never used that before.


  • senra

    ~OMG im nt the only Malaysian on this diet haha. And i love Bak Kuh Teh(although my mum said to eat less of it cause its fattening :/ ) Im gonna try to make this! Thanks! 😀

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