Babi kecap is tender pieces of pork belly simmered in a rich and sweet sauce.
This is one of those recipes that I never knew existed until I visited Bali. It just isn’t that well known in the west but it should be. It is so easy to prepare and probably one of the best pork belly recipes on the planet.
About this recipe…
I travelled around Bali for four weeks looking for recipe ideas for a book I’m writing. Quite fun actually but a lot of what was on offer was pretty much expected: the dishes everyone knows and goes to Bali to try.
Every now and then, however I came across something new and exciting and this babi kecap was one of them.
This dish is so easy to prepare. The pork is simmered in a delicious sweet, sour, savoury and spicy sauce until it literally melts in your mouth.
Although it may not be one of the best-known Indonesian dishes, babi kecap is definitely one of my favourites from my trip and one you need to put on your ‘must try’ list.
Most of the ingredients you will probably be familiar with already. Kecap manis might be new to you. I’ve been cooking with this savoury and and sweet syrupy sauce for the past 18 months. Although I’m not usually a big fan of sweet dishes, I do love kecap manis.
What is kecap manis?
Put simply, it’s soy sauce and sugar that have been simmered down to make a syrupy sauce. You can purchase it online and also make it.
I rarely do as it is so easy to purchase. Just like ketchup, it’s one of those products that is easily sourced and making it at home doesn’t really improve the end result.
If you would like to have a go at making kecap manis, heat about 125ml (1/2 cup) of soy sauce and an equivalent amount of light brown sugar over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until you have a thick syrupy sauce.
What is Babi Kecap?
Babi means pork in Indonesian. Often the term babi refers to baby suckling pigs as babi guling is another of the famous dishes from Bali.
So what you’re getting with this recipe is pork cooked in kecap manis just like the name implies.
Making Babi Kecap in pictures…
If you like this babi kecap recipe, try some of these too…
- FOR THE SAMBAL PASTE
- 5 banana shallots
- 3 candlenuts or macadamia nuts
- 3 red bird’s eye chillies, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 5cm (2 inches) ginger, roughly chopped
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- FOR THE STEW
- 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
- 700g (1 ½ lbs) pork belly, cut into 5cm (2 inch chunks)
- 2 makrut lime leaves
- 1 tbsp medium hot sauce (your choice)
- 6 tbsp kecap manis
- 1 tbsp tamarind concentrate (see page 00) or shop bought
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp palm sugar or light brown sugar
- 2 red spur chillies, thinly sliced to garnish
- Place the shallots, candlenuts/macadamia nuts, chillies, garlic, ginger and ground turmeric in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. You might need to add a little water to assist blending. Set aside.
- Now heat a large high sided frying pan that has a lid over medium high heat and add the oil. When the oil is visibly hot, add the pork belly pieces and brown the meat for about 5 minutes. Depending on the size of your pan you might need to do this in two batches.
- Then add the prepared sambal paste to the pan and stir well to combine. Continue cooking for another 3 minutes to cook out the rawness of the sambal.
- Add just enough water to cover the meat and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Stir in the sugar and cover the pan to simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the kecap manis, tamarind concentrate and bring to a boil over a medium high heat.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until the pork is fall apart tender.
- To finish, stir in the lemon juice and continue cooking until you have a thick sauce that literally clings to the meat. Serve immediately as it is or with white rice.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 372Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 738mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 6gSugar: 28gProtein: 14g