Written by Shirley T
Monday, 31 May 2010 00:00
Ayam Pongteh or Babi Pongteh is a Nyonya dish made popular by a Singaporean drama series - Little Nyonya. 'Ayam' means chicken and 'Babi' is literally translated as 'pork' in Malaysian language. Ayam (or Babi) Pongteh is a famous Peranakan dish, generally a chicken (or pork) stew cooked with fermented soybean paste, potatoes and shiitake mushrooms. An aromatic dish from Nyonya's kitchen, it is served with plenty of delectable broth and delivers the taste of sweet-savory owing to the main ingredients of fermented soybean paste and palm sugar.
Back in my hometown Penang, Ayam/Babi Pongteh is one of the dishes that is made convenience at certain economy rice stalls. Not a common dish but the odds of getting a cooked Ayam/Babi Pongteh is high if one knows its where about. Contrary happens in Austin, all the hometown dishes that we love are the produce of our home kitchen!
Motivated by my recent 'pongteh' yearning, I attempted my first experiment. Most recipe references suggested braising or simmering the dish. However, I opted for stewing using crock pot (slow cooker) to allow the chicken, potatoes and mushrooms to cook gradually rather than instantaneously. Slow cooking leads them to turn out softer, juicier and more flavorful.
Ready to try my version of Ayam Pongteh?
1 pound chicken - chopped into pieces
3 tbsp cooking oil
5-8 cloves garlic - finely chopped
5-8 shallots - finely chopped
4-5 shiitake mushroom - soaked
2 cup potato - cubed
2 tbsp palm sugar/brown sugar
2 tbsp sweet soy sauce/dark soy sauce
2 tbsp fermented soybean paste - I use Miso paste
2 cup water - depends on the depth of croc pot/slow cooker
salt & pepper to taste
1. Heat up wok with cooking oil. Add garlic and shallots. Saute until fragrance.
Tips: Keep tossing to ensure consistency and avoid burning.
2. Add fermented bean paste and stir to mix.
3. Place in chicken and toss them for a couple of minutes.
4. Pour 1/2 cup of water into wok. Increase the heat to allow the broth to boil. Add sugar, salt, pepper
and sweet soy sauce.
5. Simmer until the broth boils. Transfer into crock pot. Add water and ensure all the chicken pieces are immersed.
6. Stew at high heat for 1.5 to 2 hours.
7. Add potato and mushroom and continue stewing for next 1 to 1.5 hour.
8. Serve hot with steamed rice.
1. I prefer to use Miso paste over the salted soybean paste to avoid high sodium content in the latter.
2. Potatoes should be added only on the last one hour prior to serving to preserve their shapes yet allowing sufficient time to produce soft and flavorful yield.
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