What is babi pongteh?
Babi Pongteh (pronounced BABI PONG-TAY) is a type of pork stew, combining pork, usually a fatty cut like pork belly or marbled shoulder (and if you’re up for it, pig trotters), with other quintessentially Nyonyan ingredients.
The use of pork is most certainly a Chinese influence as are the dried shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce and fermented soy bean paste which gives this Nyonyan recipe its unique umami flavour.
Babi pongteh has fragrance for days, and the salty, savoury aromas wafting through the kitchen are something very special! When cooked, the sauce reduces to an intensely flavoursome gravy that clings to the juicy, tender pork.
Additional flavour comes in the form of cinnamon which imparts its unique personality through the dish. Other aromatics are often used like cloves, star anise and sometimes dried tangerine peel to offer unique flavour combinations.
The use of dried mushroom brings a wonderful flavour and texture to the babi pongteh, you can also use potatoes or fresh lotus root or whatever YOU think might work!