When we speak of Nyonya dishes we are first to think of Nyonya Pongteh. It is basically chicken (ayam in Malay) or pork (babi in Malay) or both, with potatoes and mushroom braised in soybean paste.
If you google for Pongteh recipe on the web, there are heaps of result coming out. However, I tried a few web recipes and did not get the taste expected. The real Pongteh is always made by the authentic Baba (refers to male) and Nyonya (refers to female) folks.
2 months ago, Jason’s mother invited my mother and me to their place and to learn how to cook Pongteh and also for a lunch together. Jason’s mom was guiding and supervising us. Jason was interested in learning too so he did the cooking most of the time while I was helping him to prepare the ingredients.
What I could remember is, about 300g-500g of pork was cooked in water (to remove the strong taste of pork), cooled and cut into pieces. Another 300g-500g of chicken was cut. Ratio 1:1 of shallots and garlic were peeled and chopped, then fried with oil. A few table spoons of Cow brand soybean paste were added to the wok followed by the pork and chicken. Then the Pongteh was fried until we got a strong flavour and the gravy was thick. After that, a bit of water was added and salt, sugar, soy sauce, dark soy sauce were added to taste.
I didn’t take down any notes of the Pongteh we learned to cook; rather I enjoyed eating than cooking. And regrettably I didn’t take any shot of the final product of Pongteh because I couldn’t wait to eat when it was served. It was really delicious. Besides Pongteh, there were other Nyonya dishes cooked by Jason’s mother. They tasted not so different from those I had in Nyonya restaurants, yet as yummy.
Thanks to Jason and his mother for inviting us to their place and teaching me how to cook Pongteh. I would call the Pongteh I had at Jason’s place, the Baba Pongteh, as Jason the Baba cooked it. Below are some of the shots I took while I had time: