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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ayam Pongteh (Nyonya stewed chicken) : From a nyonya kitchen

Ayam Pongteh ( Nyonya stewed chicken) : From a nyonya kitchen

Recipe contributed by Boon Neo
Photos courtesy of Siew Leng

Ayam pongteh (Nyonya stewed chicken ) is one of the signature dishes of the Melaka Peranakan and since my parents are Melaka Peranakan, ayam pongteh is a familiar dish for my siblings and I.
I remember those childhood days when mother would cook the ayam pongteh in a clay pot over wood fire. Today , years on, my nose still tingles with its remembered fragrance.
Mother is no longer with us, but her ayam pongteh recipe has been handed down to my sisters who have since shared it with my non-nyonya wife.
On one of his visits home, our son, Andrew, said  to his  mummy

“This is the best ayam pongteh from a non-nyonya."

For an authentic taste of  ayam pongteh, you have to try the home cooked ayam pongteh prepared by a traditional Melaka nyonya.


15 shallots
5 cloves garlic
4 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp  palm sugar (gula tuak or gula melaka), chopped
1 ½ Tbsp fermented soy bean paste (taucheo)
1 kg. chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
2 medium size potatoes, peeled and quartered
10 Shitake mushrooms 
3 cups water
Salt to taste


  1.  Pound shallots and garlic separately into thick paste
  2.   Heat oil over medium heat. Add in shallot paste and sauté (tumis) until fragrant, but make sure it is not burnt.
  3.   Add in garlic and sauté
  4.   Add in bean soy paste (taucheo) and stir.
  5.  Add in chicken and stir until slightly dry.
  6.   Put in 3 cups of water and bring to boil.
  7.  Add in the potatoes and mushrooms.
  8. Add in the light soy sauce and the black soy sauce. Bring to boil.
    9.  Add in the palm sugar.
  10. When the water boils, reduce heat and let it simmer until chicken is tender and the gravy has thickened.
111. Season with salt to taste.
   12.Serve with steamed rice 
   Tips: Use a generous amount of shallots for that extra fragrance and good quality palm sugar for the unique sweetness.



  1. Best nonya ayam pongteh from a non-nonya and I look forward to tasting it in the New Year!

  2. Wud be great if u can post more on food recipe.

  3. Wud be great if u can post more on food recipe.

  4. Hi Adeline,
    Thanks for the suggestion. Will try to post more food recipe.