The origins of Baba Nyonya can be traced back to centuries when the Chinese emigrated from China to the British Straits Settlement of Melaka, Singapore, Penang and also Java of Indonesia. These Chinese then married the local females and form a very unique culture. Their distinct background, cultures and customs blended together harmoniously and became what is called “Peranakan” culture.“Peranakan” means descendant in Malay. There is another local term for them. “Baba” refers to the male while “nyonya” means female.
Beside, they are also being known as “Straits-born Chinese”. They are where the Chinese culture assimilated into Malay customs. They retained some practices of Chinese cultures but at the same time adapted local Malay traditions in order to blend into the environment. This special background makes the Baba Nyonya cuisine a good blend of the local Malay and Chinese style.
Pongteh is one of the signature dishes in its cuisine, it always taste better overnight, like all stews/braised dishes do.
Chicken 500 gms
Pork Belly 500 gms
Potatoes 2 (medium size)
Garlic cloves 10
Salted Soya bean paste 2 tbsps
Brown Sugar 1 tbsps
Chinese Rice wine/cooking wine 2 tbsps
Soya sauce to taste
1. Clean chicken and pork and cut into 1.5 cm x 1.5 cm pieces, peel garlic and Shallot, peel and cut potatoes into big chunk, use a chopper to chop the shallot and garlic.
2. In a cooking pan, add some oil, fry the chopped shallot and garlic until fragrant and add the soy bean paste. Stir for 1-2 minutes before adding the pork and chicken pieces. Continue cooking until the meat turns into whitish color.
3. Pour in 3-4 cups of water, cover with lid and bring to boil, turn the stove to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add potato pieces and soy sauce to taste, continue simmer for another 30 minutes or until desire softness of meat achieved.
4. Add some cooking wine and bring to rolling boil again for 2-3 minutes before turning off the stove.