Balinese Pork

Cook time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6

If you’ve been to Bali, you’ve probably tried their most famous dish, babi guling – roasted whole suckling pig rubbed with aromatic spices. Here, I’ve adapted the recipe by roasting rolled pork belly. The results are fantastic, as the crackling is perfect and the slow-cooked pork, spiced heavily with turmeric and galangal, is succulent. If you’re making the slow-cooker version and you have time, air-dry your slow-cooked pork belly overnight in the fridge too: the drier the skin the crispier the crackling will be.

Ingredients

1.5 kg boneless pork belly, skin scored, dried uncovered in the fridge overnight

2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, finely chopped

2 × 3 cm pieces of galangal or ginger, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 makrut lime leaves, stalks removed, leaves finely chopped salt flakes

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and crushed

2 long red chillies, deseeded

2 tablespoons peanut oil or melted coconut oil, plus extra for brushing

4 long green chillies, deseeded

2 spring onions, white parts chopped, green parts sliced on an angle

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons palm sugar

juice of 1 lime

lime cheeks, to serve

steamed rice, to serve

Balinese Pork

If you’ve been to Bali, you’ve probably tried their most famous dish, babi guling – roasted whole suckling pig rubbed with aromatic spices. Here, I’ve adapted the recipe by roasting rolled pork belly. The results are fantastic, as the crackling is perfect and the slow-cooked pork, spiced heavily with turmeric and galangal, is succulent. If you’re making the slow-cooker version and you have time, air-dry your slow-cooked pork belly overnight in the fridge too: the drier the skin the crispier the crackling will be.

Method

Remove the pork from the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Use a mortar and pestle to pound the lemongrass, galangal or ginger, garlic and lime leaves with a good pinch of salt until a fine paste forms. Alternatively, place in a blender and blend to a fine paste. Transfer 2 tablespoons to a bowl and reserve for the sambal base. Now add the turmeric, coriander seeds, red chilli and 1 tablespoon of oil and pound or blend again.

Place the pork, skin-side down, on a bench and spread the spice paste all over the meat, avoiding the skin as much as possible. Tightly roll up the pork, skin-side out, and tie firmly at 2 cm intervals with kitchen string.

Brush the skin with a little extra oil, then season generously with salt. Place the pork in a large roasting tin (preferably with a wire rack in it to elevate the meat) and roast for 40–50 minutes until the skin is blistered and crisp all over.

Pour 125 ml (½ cup) of water around the pork into the tin, reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and continue to roast the pork for 45–60 minutes until cooked through.

Meanwhile, return the reserved sambal base mixture to the mortar or blender and add the green chilli, spring onion whites, fish sauce, palm sugar, lime juice and the remaining oil. Pound or pulse to form a rough sauce. Chill until required.

Remove the pork from the oven and rest for 20–30 minutes. Remove the string, then slice into 1 cm thick pieces.

Serve the pork with the sauce, lime cheeks and steamed rice, with spring onion sambal greens scattered over the top.

Slow Cooker Method

Follow steps 1, 2 and 3.

Place the pork in the slow cooker, add 250 ml (1 cup) of water, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and air-dry on a tray for 1 hour (or, even better, uncovered in the fridge).

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Follow steps 4 and 5, then steps 7, 8 and 9.