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Ayam Pongteh @ Nyonya Chicken Stew Recipe : Now and Before


Not much cooking nowadays but all workload is starting to lessen. My final year project is soon to be over and then I can concentrate on my finals. Then it is off to the work force for me. Seem really daunting yet exciting. All said I am ready to take on the challenge and start a new journey in my life. We all have to learn to adapt to changes and make the best of it. I am glad I have learned to do so. What bout you?


Anyway, I just remembered this recipe I attempted ages ago (few months) that I have yet to share with you guys. It is from an issue of Flavours, a local food magazine which I am an avid fan of. I came across a simple yet intriguing recipe called Pongteh. This dish is from Peranakan origin, which we called Baba and Nonya. I had wrote bout them before. A glance at the recipe and it got me thinking of it day and night, so I had to put it to an end. I made it.

Ayam Pongteh @ Nyonya Chicken Stew Recipe
Ayam Pongteh @ Nyonya Chicken Stew

Pongteh (Chicken Stew with Preserved Soy Bean Paste)

This recipe uses ingredients readily available in most households. Chinese households if not. I’m not sure whether many would have the preserved bean paste, which is actually a thick, salty fermented soybean paste. I believe one can get in any asian market easily. Here, it is a must in this dish as it holds the base flavour of it. Gula melaka is actually unprocessed raw palm sugar, easily available in Malaysia. As the name stated, it is originated from Melaka, home of the Peranakans.

As usual, I had left out ingredients to suit my taste (or my pantry) and tweaked the recipe a wee little bit. In the original recipe, one can add belly pork and also shitake mushrooms and yam bean. In the recipe, it calls for first boiling the sauce with the mushroom for 20 minutes. Once again, I took the shortcut, and since I did not use Chinese mushrooms anyway, I only bring it to boil, cut down added water and cooked to a much shorter time.

The recipe noted that it will taste better the next day after the flavors had a chance to infuse into the meat. I for one am not going to compromise this. The overnight dish was great with the meat deeply infused in the taste, which comprises mainly of the bean paste. To me the taste is unique and it is an overall fairly easy recipe. Do try it!

5 chicken drumsticks
3 tbsp cooking oil

Grind to paste:
4 red onions
5 shallots
6 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp preserved bean paste (tau cheo)
600ml water
5 potatoes (cubed)

40g gula Melaka (palm sugar), or to taste
1 tsp of salt

Heat oil and sauté the onion, shallot and garlic paste till fragrant, stirring continuously.
Then add in the bean paste and fry till oil separates. (This did not really happen to mind as I had lowered the oil content considerably)
Add water and bring to boil.
Lower in the chicken and simmer for bout 15 minutes.
Add in the cubed potatoes.
Continue to cook for another 30 minutes or till chicken is tender and potatoes are soft.
Add water if gravy becomes too thick.
Season to taste with sugar and salt

Added: A fellow reader asked me about what tau cheo to make sure she got the right ingredient, so here it is:

Taucu @ Preserved Bean Paste
Taucu @ Preserved Bean Paste

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