Balinese braised pork


I had some left over belly pork from another dish, so I wanted to make something quick and easy. Belly pork has to be cooked for a long time to release it unctuous flavours and it is a great favourite in Bali, where the population is Hindu and not Muslim. But some people find it too fatty so you could use pork shoulder instead. The lIndonesian  variety of soy sauce kecap manis – much more robust and flavoursome than the Chinese kind, and available in Chinese supermarkets – has one smacking one’s lips. A good dish for winter and spring evenings.

Serves 2 (double quantities for 4)

2 tbs coconut oil
50g shallots
knob of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
600g of belly pork or pork shoulder, cut into chunks
2 tbs kecap manis
1 tbs dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tbs tamarind water or paste
freshly ground black pepper
1 large red chilli, chopped
1 birds eye chilli, left whole
125 ml of stock or water
crispy fried shallots, spring onion or chilli to garnish

Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan (you will need a lid) over a medium heat. Add the shallots and fry until golden brown. Then add the garlic, ginger and salt and cook for a minute or so.

Next add the pork and fry for a couple of minutes until nicely browned, before adding the kecap manis, soy sauce and tamarind water or paste, pepper, salt, chillies and stock. Simmer for 1.5 hours, uncovered, on a very low heat. If the sauce is evaporating too fast, put a lid on the pan. You should be left with some succulent pork covered in a thick and gloopy dark sauce. Yum.

Check the seasoning, and then serve with rice, vegetables or salad, garnished with deep fried shallots and or chilli. Delicious.

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