Thursday, February 18, 2010


I recently tried a dish I've never had before in a Nyonya restaurant. It was called pongteh and it had the most delicious flavour. It's not very attractive to look, being all dark and the meat hardly discernible from the mushrooms or even the potatoes; but oh, the flavour! This dish (and the following recipe) is definitely a must-try in my book.

The recipe is adapted from Kuali and serves 4.

300 grams chicken
300 grams belly pork ; (optional)
3 tablespoons cooking oil
200 grams shallot paste ; (from about 20 shallots)
1/2 tablespoon garlic paste ; (from 3 cloves garlic)
1 tablespoons preserved bean paste ; (tau cheo)
5 dried shiitake mushrooms ; soaked and quartered
400 mililiters Water
1 1/2 potatoes ; peeled and quartered
125 grams yambean ; (jicama), cut as desired
30 grams palm sugar ; (gula Melaka), or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt ; or to taste

Cut the chicken into pieces; cut the pork into 2cm-thick slices.

Heat the oil to sauté the shallot and garlic paste until fragrant, stirring continuously. Add the bean paste and fry until the oil starts to separate.

Add the pork if using and fry for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and water, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes before adding chicken. Continue simmering until chicken and pork are tender, adding the potatoes and yambean half way through. Add more water if gravy becomes too thick. Season to taste with sugar and salt. Serve with sambal belacan.

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