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Babi Kecap

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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.

Babi kecap

Sweet and tender pieces of pork belly. You can make this spicy by adding chillies at the end.

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.

Special Ingredients…

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…

Ingredients for babi kecap

Get all of your ingredients together before starting. It’s a lot easier.

Blending the sambal

Start by blending the sambal ingredients. Set aside.

Frying the pork belly

Brown the pork belly pieces in a little oil. You might need to do this in two batches. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

Adding raw sambal to the pan

Add the blended sambal to the browned pork.

Simmering the sambal

Fry the sambal for a few minutes to cook out the rawness.

Adding the sugar

Stir in the sugar. Not too much at this point. You can always add more but the kecap manis is quite sweet.

Cover the meat with water

Pour in just enough water to cover and bring to a simmer.

Covering the pan for a 30 minute simmer

Cover the pan and simmer on a low to medium heat for 30 minutes.

The simmering sauce

After 30 minutes, uncover the pan and turn the heat up a bit.

Adding kecap manis and tamarind

Add the kecap manis and tamarind and continue simmering until you have a thick sauce.

Reduced sauce

As it cooks, for about 10 minutes, the sauce will reduce and thicken.

Babi kecap

The sauce will literally cling to the meat. So good!

babi kecap

Serve immediately. I like to garnish babi kecap with chopped red chillies.

Baby Kecap with greens and salad

You could really go fancy and serve this with seasonal herbs and a side salad.

If you like this babi kecap recipe, you might also like to try some of these.

Indonesian Chicken Sate
Indonesian Fried Chicken
Sambal Oelek – Indonesian hot sauce
Chicken with Sambal Matah
Soto Ayam
Spicy Green Beans Indonesian Style
Indonesian Bakso
Ikan Bakar – Indonesian Fried Fish
Nasi Goreng
Mee Goreng
Sambal La La – Spicy Clams
Indonesian Blackened Fish
Seafood Laksa
Chicken Rendang
Beef Rendang
Butter Egg Floss Prawns
Malaysian Chicken Curry
Malaysian Devil Curry
Ayam Masak Merah – Malaysian Red Chicken Curry
Chicken Kapitan
Homemade Kecap Manis

Have you tried this babi kecap recipe?

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Babi Kecap

babi kecap
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 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
  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until the pork is fall apart tender.
  6. 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.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 372Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 738mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 6gSugar: 28gProtein: 14g

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