During my last trip back to Malaysia, I stopped by Kluang, a city in the state of Johore. It’s always great to go places, enjoy great eats, new cooking, and the trip did just that for me. Kluang is famed for its Bak Kut Teh (Pork Bone Tea Soup) so I had many meals of it. I also discovered a brand new kind of Bak Kut Teh using a totally unexpected and remotely distant ingredient: cuttlefish.
If you are a Bak Kut Teh connoisseur, I am sure you are skeptical, very skeptical. I don’t blame you, that was exactly my initial reaction when I heard of it. Cuttlefish in a herb-infused pork bone soup?! That doesn’t sound too appetizing.
But a kopitiam (a Malaysian slang for coffee shop) packed full with throngs of patrons for this specialty couldn’t be that wrong. The shop specializes in traditional servings of Bak Kut Teh with pork ribs, intestines, etc., but the cuttlefish one is what drives fans coming back and begging for more. At the very first taste of the piping hot cuttlefish Bak Kut Teh (served in a clay pot) , I was converted right there and then. Never mind the skeptics and nay-sayers, you just don’t know what you’re missing out…
Over the weekend, I had a sudden craving for it so I made a huge pot with all my favorites: pork ribs, tofu puffs, mushrooms, bean curd skin, and of course, cuttlefish.
Click to get my Bak Kut Teh recipe. To make a side serving of cuttlefish Bak Kut Teh, please follow the steps below.
1/2 lb cuttlefish
10 tofu puffs
1/2 can button mushroom
A few lettuce leaves
1) Soak the cuttlefish in cold water with some baking soda (to get rid of the fishy smell) for 30 minutes.
2) Rinse the cuttlefish with cold water and drain.
3) Slit the body of the cuttlefish with shallow horizontal and vertical cuts so they curl up once cooked.
4) Heat up a small pot of water and bring it to bowl. Drop the cuttlefish into the boiling water and as soon as they curl up, remove it from the stove, drain the water, and set aside.
5) Transfer a big bowl of Bak Kut Teh broth into a claypot. Heat up the claypot and bring the broth to boil.
6) Add the mushrooms, tofu puffs, and cuttlefish into the broth and boil for 5 minutes.
Toss in the lettuce leaves and serve immediately.
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