Flavours reminiscent of home

  • Food News
  • Saturday, 09 Nov 2019

The ingredients for soy sauce chicken with potatoes.

CHICKEN with potatoes in soy sauce is considered comfort food in many Chinese homes.

Served piping hot over steamed rice, this dish is a reminder of what a home-cooked meal is supposed to be.

And every home has its own version of this dish.

Similar to ayam pongteh, the famous Melaka dish of chicken with potatoes and taucu, we cannot claim that it is pongteh because it lacks one key ingredient — gula melaka.

This recipe, hailing from Penang, is adapted from the Kuali archives.

It contains a few ingredients that home cooks from other parts of the country may not use, specifically spices and bamboo shoots.

Intrigued by the use of spices and bamboo shoots, I decided to try making this version although it is different from my family recipe.

It is always a challenge when using a recipe that I am not familiar with but I was quite relieved when our Penangite videographer Patrick Chin said it tasted authentic and reminded him of his hometown.

Do try this dish at home, and double or triple the recipe because it tastes even better the next day.

I cooked this dish again at home a few days later and ate leftovers straight from the fridge.

The gravy had melded into the chicken and potatoes, and I must say it really hits the spot.

Soy sauce chicken with potatoesMarinade600g chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces

2 tbsp light soy sauce

¼ tsp pepper

Ingredients6 dried shiitake mushrooms

1 cup water

500g baby potatoes, boiled until tender, then skinned

50g canned bamboo shoots, sliced

1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 star anise

5 cloves

2cm cinnamon stick

4 cloves garlic

6cm ginger, sliced

1½ tbsp preserved bean paste or tauchu

2 cups water

Sauce2 tbsp oyster sauce

½ tsp thick soy sauce

1 tbsp concentrated chicken stock

1 tsp sugar

¼ tsp salt or to taste


1 tsp cornstarch

1 tbsp water

Method1) Soak mushrooms in one cup water overnight.

2) Strain mushroom and retain mushroom infusion.

3) Marinate chicken with light soy sauce and pepper, and leave aside for 30 minutes.

4) Heat oil and sesame oil in wok, and sauté ginger, garlic, tauchu, cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick until fragrant.

5) Add in chicken and mushrooms and toss until the chicken changes colour.

6) Add mushroom infusion and bring to a boil.

7) Pour in combined sauce ingredients and coat in the sauce.

8) Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes.

9) Add bamboo shoots and baby potatoes and stir.

10) Thicken with cornstarch mixture and then serve with steamed rice.

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