Babi Pongteh or Braised Pork in Fermented Salted Black Beans‘s a Nyonya dish, traditionally cooked on special occasions like chinese new year, birthdays, etc. Well, there’s no special reason for one to prepare it. I’ve wanted to try it for the longest time and today was as good as any.. 🙂


  • 500g pork belly (I used pork shoulder fillet), cubed abt 3x3cm
  • 150g onions
  • 60g garlic
  • 1½ tbsp tao chew (fermented black beans)
  • 1 tsp palm sugar (gula melaka) (I used sugarcane sugar)
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 5 medium-sized potatoes or 1 small turnip, halved or quartered, as you like
  • 1½ cup water
  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water till soft, remove stem and cut in half – optional
  • vegetable or sunflower oil



    Serves 4
    Prep time 30 mins
    Cook time 50 mins
    Total time 80 mins
total time


  1. Pound or blend onions, garlic and tau chew. Mix well.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or deep pot. Fry pounded or blended ingredients over low heat till fragrant.
  3. Add pork and stir till meat is partly cooked – this takes just a few minutes.
  4. Add in water and mushrooms (if using). Add in light soy sauce and sugar (or to taste). Cover wok or pot with a lid and let it boil over medium heat for abt 5 mins.
  5. Cook further over low heat, letting it braise for about 30 mins, stirring once in a while.
  6. Add in potatoes (or turnip) and simmer for another 10 mins or so till potatoes (or turnip) are soft but still firm.
  7. Served with warm rice and some stir-fried vegetables.

I spoke to my ma a few days later and told her I made babi pongteh. She told me traditionally, it’s made with turnip (sengkuang) and without dried shittake mushrooms but I didn’t know that. More over, it’s really difficult to find sengkuang here. Anyways, I like it better with potatoes, especially after it has absorbed the sauce.. 😀 But I’d try without the mushrooms next time..

Thoughts – added 5 Sep 2010:
I’m thinking of replacing dried shiitake mushrooms with dried wood ear fungus. Would it be good? Or should I just leave out mushrooms completely? Hmm..

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