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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Pongteh






If you want a hearty, flavorful and aromatic stew, why not cook a Nyonya dish called Pongteh. I don't know what Pongteh means. There is the Chicken Pongteh (Ayam Pongteh) and the Pork Pongteh (Babi Pongteh). I did a chicken and pork combination because I could not make up my mind as to which I should cook. We have a similar dish in Terengganu which combines chicken and pork. That I will share in a future post.

I cooked my first Pongteh a couple of years ago and if I remembered correctly, one of the ingredients is corriander powder. I have since lost that recipe and my search for the Pongteh ended with a recipe by Ms Debbie Teoh which appeared in Kuali. This recipe calls for chicken and pork and  it was perfect for me. The first thing that pleases you when  cooking the Pongteh is the aroma which emanates throughout your kitchen when you saute the shallot, garlic and preserved bean paste. It is indeed a very appetising smell. I prefer to keep the Pongteh overnight as I find that the flavours deepen with time.

Ms Debbie Teoh's recipe is reproduced below with my modifications in red.

Pongteh (Recipe by Ms Debbie Teoh)

Ingredients :
- 600g chicken (I used 2 chicken legs cut into bite sizes)
- 600g pork belly (1 used 1 strip of pork belly)
- 6 tablespoons cooking oil

- 400g shallot paste (from about 40 shallots)(I used about 30)
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste (from 6 cloves garlic)(I used 3 big cloves)
- 2 tablespoons preserved bean paste (tau cheo)
- 10 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked and quartered (I left them whole)
- 800-1000ml water
- 3 potatoes, peeled and quartered (I used 6 potatoes to avoid fighting at the table)
- 250g yambean (jicama), cut as desired (I omitted this)
- 80g palm sugar (gula Melaka) or to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste (I omitted because the tau cheo was salty enough)

Method :
- Cut the chicken into pieces; cut the pork into 2cm thick slices.
- Heat oil to saute the shallot and garlic paste until fragrant, stirring continuously. Add teh bean paste and fry until oil starts to separate. (I blended the shallot, garlic and tau cheo together and then saute)
- 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 and tender, adding the potatoes and yambean half way through. (I added the potatoes at the same time as the chicken)
- Add more water if gravy becomes too thick. Season to taste with sugar and salt. Serve with sambal belacan.

Note :
Pongteh tastes better the next day when the flavours are infused into the meat.



I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest Melaka State hosted by Cindy of yummylittlecooks.
















40 comments:

  1. I always like this dish as it reminds me of home. My mom usually used chicken and potatoes and never knew you can add jicama to it mmmm I should try that the next time I cook this.

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    1. I like this dish very much too. So much flavours. Must cook it more often.

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  2. My sister loves this dish very much. Looking at your dish makes me wanted to try my hand to cook this as I have yet to try how it taste. Looking at all your post on the dishes you cooked, it already proven you are indeed a good cook!

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    1. Mel, thanks for your compliments. I only know a few dishes only. Do try this dish. I am sure you will like it very much.

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  3. Hi Phong Hong, this dish is quite similar to my mum's 'Rempah Chin' or Babi Chin which is usually prepared for wedding 'th'ng tok' in Penang. Apart from using either chicken, pork belly or pig trotters there is another ingredient added. That's pounded cekur roots. Nowadays you can't find this dish on such ocassions. Any idea about this dish?

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    1. Kimmy, I have heard of Babi Chin. I think I have the recipe somewhere. Will look for it!

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  4. My missus just cooked the other day. Hers, she also added serai, lengkuas, chili...for an extra stronger flavour. Nice!

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    1. Wow! Her's must taste pretty good with addition of the extra ingredients. I will try that next time.

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  5. i dont eat pork.. but chicken looks good here :)

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    1. You can cook this with just chicken and it will taste just as good/

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  6. I don't think I will find all the pastes - could you please write how to make it home?


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    1. Ola, I think you should be able to get the fermented bean paste from Asian shops. As for the shallots and garlic, you can just blend them to make a paste.

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  7. I cooked the same recipe before, picture taken but till now have yet to post it, hehehe..if i could recall, i tried to reduce the palm sugar as we dont like sweet gravy when eating with rice.

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    1. Sonia, since I am from KT, we like our food more on sweet side. But I think Pongteh is nice too if it is not sweet.

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  8. hi phong hong, i once cooked a chicken pongteh..last year i think ..a recipe taken from chef wan..but with added spices like cinnamon stick and star anise. Seeing a few pongteh dishes after a year, i think his recipe is a bit stronger in terms of flavour and maybe not so 'nyonya'. not sure about the word ' pongteh'..maybe something to do with the gravy or teh...like bak kut teh..haha!..must ask the baba and nyonyas!

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    1. Lena, I think there are a few variations out there. Wonder which one is the original recipe. I guess with cinnamon stick and star anise it is even more aromatic.

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  9. You should call it Phonghongteh :)
    That's a lot of shallots! No wonder the gravy is so rich and thick.
    I've never made this altho I'm part nyonya (a very small smidgen). Don't recall having it often when I was a kid with mum's cooking. I'm guessing it's more of a Melaka nyonya and not Penang.

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    1. Wahahaha! Why didn't I think of that! You should try it, it is delicious.

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  10. I see this dish on many nyonya rewtaurant menu, but have never try it. Your recipe sounds delicious, especially with so many shallots. Another nyonya dish that sounds manageable for me, thanks for sharing!

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    1. You are welcome Esther. Why don't you try cooking this? Sometimes the restaurant dishes don't really live up to the real thing that we cook at home.

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    2. Phong you are absolutely right. Smetimes i find that certain dishes just dont taste very good, even though they are from reputable restaurants, and the ones we cook at home taste better, but we are too shy to say because it sounds like we are bragging, thanks , now i am encouraged to try this :)

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  11. Hi Phong Hong ,this is an excellent dish, can have extra rice too. Yours look delicious. yum yum

    Have a nice week ahead.

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    1. Your are right, Amelia. Lots of rice and lots of sambal belacan!

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  12. Looks so delicious! This is definitely one of my family favourite Nyonya dish. I cook this very often at home. My mom loved to mix pork and chicken too. And more potatoes! Everyone loves the potatoes when they have been braised and full of flavour from the gravy. In Melaka, we, the adults would eat it with chili garam. Delish!! We always cook more rice when this is braising on the stove! Yum!!

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    1. Good to know that you love this too. I wonder what is chili garam? Must be similar to what we do in KT, chilli pounded with salt :)

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  13. adei...really makes me drool. Much better looking from the ones in the restaurant. Crazy me...usually i gooble up the potatoes more than the chicken :p

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    1. The potatoes are the best part :)

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  14. Mmm this dish sure looks delicious! I like the potatoes too, as I am not so into rice:D

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    1. That's why I like to put extra potatoes, or else there will be complaints :)

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  15. This is my hometown special, actually I never cook this for my husband before ....mmmm....besides ur roast chicken I also book mark this.

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    1. Try cooking the Pongteh. It is a very delicious dish and you and your husband will love it :)

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  16. A hearty and comforting, delicious dish...although I'm not familiar with it, I'm sure I would love it:)

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    1. It's one of my comfort foods. Sort of makes me happy eating it :)

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  17. This looks delicious. Once I tried making it, and it turned out too sweet, I think the recipe I used over dosed on the gula meleka...

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    1. You are right, it can get too sweet, so its best to put a bit first and taste as you go along.

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  18. Unique name!!! Will try with chicken some day :) Cheers! :)

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  19. All these flavors must combine into something magnificent! What a yummy dish!

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    1. This must be pretty weird for you Lizzy :) Thank you so much for dropping by!

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