Chic Kut Teh: The Asian Chicken Soup Your Soul Needs

Credit: Gerald Lee

Chic Kut Teh is not just your average chicken soup. It’s the remedy that your soul needs now.

Being at home lately has made me a little nostalgic and I decided to take out the old, dusty book of recipes that I used to write down recipes I learnt from my mom, aunts and poh poh once upon a time ago. As I flipped through the pages, reminiscing the good ol’ days, I stumbled upon this Chic Kut Teh recipe and since it is raining outside, I feel fate has decided what I am going to make for my dinner tonight.

Forget Chicken Soup!

As I started preparing the ingredients, I couldn’t help but think, ‘This is actually like making chicken soup, but even better!’. As lovely as chicken soup sounds, Chic Kut Teh has more nutritional value than a pot of chicken soup. Originally made using pork (Bak Kut Teh), this delicious soup is let simmered for hours with lots and lots of Chinese herbs like ginseng, goji berries, and red dates together with a huge chunk of meat, usually pork ribs, until the meat is juicy and tender. What makes Bak Kut Teh, or in this case, Chic Kut Teh, better than your run-of-the-mill chicken soup is the fact that Chinese tea, usually Oolong is used as the base for the broth. The results? Fragrant, sweet and flavourful soup that keeps you all warm and fuzzy inside.

So, forget chicken soup and start making Chic Kut Teh on a regular basis or maybe just reserve it for those quiet, rainy nights when you just want to sit down with a good book and listen to some slow Jazz. Wait! Don’t go ordering the ingredients just yet! There’s one more thing you should know. This Chic Kut Teh recipe is the simplest and easiest version of the OG recipe but it gives the same results but faster.


a) Chic Kut Teh Broth

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 packets of prepacked Bak Kut Teh herbs
  • 1 lb of chicken, cut into pieces
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and cut into half
  • 6 fresh brown button mushrooms, washed and cut into half
  • 2 packets of straw mushrooms
  • 1 cup of tofu puffs, cut into half
  • 1/2 cup of goji berries
  • 4 bulbs of garlic

b) Seasoning

  • 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 6 dashes of white pepper
  • 1 tiny piece of rock sugar
  • salt to taste

c) Dipping Sauce

  • 6  red or green bird’s eye chilies, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of of thick sweet black sauce

d) Condiments

  • 1 tablespoon of fried shallots
  • 1 stalk of spring onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon of fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Fried Yau Char Kuay


  1. Fill a big pot with water, garlic, bak kut teh herbs, chicken and mushrooms, except the straw mushrooms, and let it boil on medium heat.  Once the broth starts boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it boil for 40 minutes since chicken takes a lesser time to cook than pork ribs.
  2. Add all the seasoning ingredients and continue to boil the broth at low heat for another 10 minutes.
  3. While waiting for the Chic Kut Teh to cook, prepare the dipping sauce by mixing all the ingredients together.
  4. Add in the straw mushrooms, tofu and goji berries into the Chic Kut Teh broth and let the broth boil for 5 minutes only. We want the mushroom to still be chewy and add texture to the broth.
  5. Turn off the heat. For extra effect, you can serve it in a clay-pot with a side of steamed white rice, condiments, the dipping sauce and some yau char kuay, commonly known as Chinese crullers.

Your New Rainy Day Favourite!

As I took the first slurp of the broth, I can physically feel my body just relaxed and all the tension ebbed away. I was right. I should be making this dish more often, especially when I am now stuck at home and I bet, you need this recipe as much as I need it too. If you prefer to prepare this dish with pork, just remember to let the broth simmer on low heat for 2 hours. The rest of the ingredients remains the same.

Don’t forget to log on to Instagram and Facebook, follow Butterkicap and me for more recipes of your favourite Malaysian dishes. If you have any feedback, comments or even just want to share your experience when making this dish, let me know or share your success on your page while tagging #butterkicap and #justinescakesandkueh. Nothing brings more joy to me than celebrating with you!

Justine Lim

With love for the freshest and natural ingredients, Justine Lim aspires to recreate heritage Malaysian recipes into modern, elegant-looking delicacies. Catch more of her delicious creations on her Instagram profile, @justinescakesnkueh

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