Monday, August 13, 2012

Babi Pongteh / Nyonya Braised Pork - (MFF - Melaka)

This is my 2nd submission to Malaysian Food Fest (MFF) for Melaka month.

Babi Pongteh is known as braised pork with fermented soya bean. This is a signature Nyonya dish that every Baba Nyonya family cook.

How would I describe this? I don't know. To me, this is a flavorful melt-in-your-mouth pork belly, and when you see this, you will definitely ask for a bowl of steamed rice, and then, drizzle the sauce over the rice. You know what I'm trying to say?

And then, all our self-realization is gone, cuz you're gonna ask for another bowl of rice without even feeling guilty. Hahahahahaa!!!

My 1st submission was Ikan Gerang Asam earlier, and I'm happy that my friends likes it. And it's been featured in AFC (Asian Food Channel) facebook, which I really don't know what is actually happening. But nevermind. It's happiness!!! Haha...

I'm recreating Babi Pongteh using the recipe Alan posted here. The recipe that Alan is sharing is extracted from Cooking for the President – Reflections & Recipes by Wee Eng Hwa, the daughter of Dr.Wee Kim Wee, the late former Singapore's President. It is said that the book compiled all the recipes which Mrs.Wee cooked for Dr.Wee Kim Wee. I didn't knew the book was so great until I'm done with my Babi Pongteh and tasted it on my own. Seriously, I feel like buying the book. I love every single instruction and details in the book. I have to thank Alan for recommending me this, but.... it's selling S$115 at Kinokuniya. The book is too atas (pricey / high class) for me to invest for now. Haha.. Maybe next time? But I really like the book loh!!!

Okay... Come back to the dish.

This dish is really rich in flavor and it could easily make you eat 2 bowls of rice easily. It also tastes good the next day when all the flavours have melded together.

Ingredients (Recipe Source : TravellingFoodies by Alan)
  • 800gm Pork Belly 五花肉 (You could use pork knuckle too)
  • 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 30 gm Shallots, finely chopped
  • 50 gm Garlic, finely chopped
  • 35 gm Fermented Soya Bean Paste (Tau Cheo 豆酱)
  • 1½ tbsp Light soya Sauce
  • 1½ tsp Thick Dark Soya Sauce + 1 tbsp for marinating
  • 35gm Palm Sugar (Gula Melaka)
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 8 medium sized Chinese dried mushrooms
  • 2 medium sized Local Potatoes
  • Water

Alan's recipe calls for 1.5kg Pork belly. I halved the recipe, simply because I'm not feeding a family of 10. With this 800gm Pork Belly, I could feed 4 adult and still have a portion of left-over to keep for next day.
The ingredients for this dish is easily available. Not as stressful as Ikan Gerang Asam, that requires lots of spices to make spice paste before I could cook em'.

But, one thing that I really need to highlight....
Please please pleaseeeeee... DO NOT cook this dish with lean meat and thinking that it is healthier. This dish need fats to create overall moisture. But hey Health-Freak out there, nobody ask you to eat this everyday leh!

It's a pot of flavorful braised pork belly... I know.

It makes u eat two bowls of rice... I also know.

It's not the healthiest food in the world... Everybody knows!

But you could cook this probably in occassion? Make this a special dish! :)

I'm not sure what is the right fermented soy bean that I should use. Alan's fermented soy bean is different from mine. But for this Orchid Brand fermented soya bean made in Malaysia, I love it alot. The saltiness is just right and good quality beans. So, I thought I would just stick to what I'm comfortable with :)

  1. Soak Mushroom in water till it turned soft. I soak my mushroom overnight. Remove stem, with both palms, press away the excessive water and set aside. Keep the mushroom water. We need it later.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut pork into big chunk. Blanch pork pieces with hot boiling water. Discard hot water and marinade with 1 tbsp thick dark soy sauce. Set aside.
  3. Shallot, finely chopped, Garlic, finely chopped. Wash, peel potatoes, cut into big chunk. Set aside.
  4. In a wok, Stir fry shallots in hot oil over low heat till translucent. Add garlic and continue to stir fry till light golden color.
  5. Add fermented soya bean paste and fry till aromatic and slight dry. Reduce to very low heat.
  6. Add light and dark soya sauce and give it a quick fry. Don't burnt it. Add marinated pork and increase heat slightly to low (from very low). Stir-fry the pork for about 10 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a pot. Deglaze wok with 1 cup water.
  8. Add the water to the pork, along with palm sugar, salt, mushrooms, mushroom water and potatoes.
  9. Top up with enough water to just cover. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat, adding more water when necessary, till pork is tender but still has some bite. This should take at least 2 hours. I cook mine for 2.5 hours.
  10. If your sauce is too watery, you might have added too much water. Increase heat to boil rapidly if necessary, to reduce the sauce abit and get it slight thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning to suit your tastebud.
I paid S$8.00 for this piece of pork belly. Butcher says "Pork Belly S$10 for 1kg!". Okay, the price sounds ok to me. But, I curse the butcher for not giving me the best piece of pork belly! He's literally holding that piece of pork belly high up the sky and just show it to me, waving the pork belly left and right, I can't even see it clearly loh! Sigh! Can't blame also. I didn't go wet market early enough to grab the best ingredient.

Marinade blanched pork belly with thick dark soya sauce and set aside for 30mins.

After 2.5 hours of slow cooking...

I don't think anybody could resist this. A piece of flavorful melt-in-your-mouth pork belly. And with a bowl of steamed rice? Need to say more?

This is of course..... Heavenly! :D

Definitely, I'm going to archive this “heart and soul” bit of Peranakan recipe as a special dish. The recipe that I will definitely repeat cooking. My family simply loves it! :)
I am submitting this to Malaysian Food Fest, Melaka Month
Hosted by Cindy of Yummy Little Cooks


  1. i love the wobbly collagen! LOL artery clogging yes, but simply irresistable!!!

  2. Alan, who dont? It's collagen lehhhh!!! :D

  3. Hi Annie, me too, love the collagen....hahhaha

    Thank you for another submission :)

    ps, can you email me the photo, need to do the round up, ty.

  4. Yummy, U also must cook lah. Collagen good for girls! And, ok! I will send u the photos :)

  5. Gorgeous photos, Annie and all your food really does look so tempting!

  6. Thanks Mich. Do try it at home too :D

  7. I am eyeing the pork skin and pork fats and you photographed it so well. I don't care, I just wallop. Three bowls of rice also no problem!

  8. Phong Hong, I had 2 bowls of rice. I wanted another bowl actually, but I really control myself. Hehehe...

  9. Annie, I love hearing your stories at the wet market, haha! Ai yo, I also love this very much... But I try to control cooking it only once a month. My Lou kong, keeps complaining why I cook such fatty food, but always end up he eats more then I do, hahaha!

  10. Honey Bee Sweets, I have lots of wet market stories one. Hahaha... next time I'll shre more. Ehh... cook lah. This one good! U can eat 3 bowls of rice! Kekeke... :D