While my Gran was a Teochew, she also had Peranakan roots as her mother was a pure Nonya. I guess it was because of that, hence Gran had inherited incredible family recipes that I used to enjoy so much when I was little. Dishes with tau cheo (fermented soya beans) were clearly her forte and to date, I still can’t find similar food that’s on par in standard with her dishes.
Well, I can never emphasise enough how cooking is a part of my life because of the sentiments it stirs up within me. No doubt, Gran was and would always be my greatest source of culinary inspiration.
Tau cheo is one condiment that I always associate Gran with. It is inexpensive and so ordinary looking but it is so fragrant and rich that it brings out the natural sweetness of meat and/or seafood and gives any dish a deep umami flavour. This recipe has been one of our family favourite recipes. Best to serve this with steamed rice or plain rice congee as you’d want to slurp up all that salty, robust gravy. Enjoy this Ayam Pongteh Recipe!
Ayam Pongteh Recipe
Ingredients (serves 2)
6 chicken drumlets
400g baby potatoes with skin on, halved
1 carrot, peeled & sliced
30g dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 1/2 hour & sliced
4 shallots, peeled & finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp tau cheo (fermented soy beans)
1 tbsp palm sugar
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
2 cups water
1 tbsp coconut oil
1. Heat oil in pan and saute shallots and garlic till fragrant. Add tau cheo and palm sugar and stir till the sugar completely dissolves.
2. Add the chicken drumlets and briefly stir fry for 30 seconds.
3. Add potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, water and dark soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes till chicken is thoroughly cooked and potatoes are tender.
Note: Tau cheo is extremely salty so there is no need to add extra salt or light soy sauce.