Ayam Kombak

Chicken and Dried Mushrooms Simmered in Fermented Soy Bean Paste


Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Growing Up In A Nonya Kitchen

Growing Up In A Nonya Kitchen

By Sharon Wee

Published 2012

  • About

My mother preferred to keep this for a few days and serve it for breakfast with French loaf bread (baguette). It was one of my father’s favourite morning treats. The aroma evokes memories of him sitting at the kitchen table, freshly Brylcreemed and shaven, scooping up the kombak gravy with a pinch of bread. This dish can taste salty on its own and is best eaten with rice or bread. As with many similar Nonya gravy dishes, ayam kombak tastes even better the next day.


  • 1.5 kg or pounds chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 10 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 230 g or 8 ounces fermented soy beans (taucheo), lightly mashed
  • 2 cups water
  • Red or green chillies, optional


    1. Rinse and pat dry the chicken pieces. Marinate with the sugar and black soy sauce. Set aside for at least an hour.
    2. Remove the Chinese mushrooms from the hot water. Stem each mushroom.
    3. Heat a Dutch oven or wok and add the oil. When the oil begins to glisten, add in the minced garlic and mashed soy bean paste. Stir fry for half a minute, then add in the chicken. Turn the chicken parts over to ensure that each is glazed on all sides.
    4. Add the water and Chinese mushrooms and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to simmer, covered, for at least 30 minutes until the chicken is tender. Serve with red or green chillies, if desired.