Babi Guling (Balinese Roast Pork)


I was watching My Kitchen Rules (don’t hate on me haters) because I like to punish myself. No, because every now and then, they make something interesting.

Which somehow is enough to override how irrirating it is when they frequently and repeatedly say “It shouldn’t be overcooked. And it shouldn’t be under-cooked.” I mean, no fucking kidding. And “it’s all about the balance of flavours”. Again I say NO SHIT SHERLOCK!

Anywho, I digress…I’ve never been to Bali so I’m unfamiliar with this bit of yum, but when they cooked this in MKR I knew, lordy I will be soon. Not in Bali so much, but this pork, hell yes! Not that I mean to malign Bali – I’d love to go to Ubud and Seminyak but the purse strings say no. Holidays are for people who don’t get a serious illness for most of 2012 and spend it in hospital, and thus not working and thus not earning an income and thus are now poor. Or whatever. But pork, that we can do. And we will!


2.5 kg piece pork belly, skin on
1½ tbsp salt
5 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
2 dried salam leaves, crumbled (optional; see note)
50 gm finely grated fresh turmeric (or 1 tbsp ground dried turmeric) mixed with 125ml water, strained, solids discarded

Spice paste
80 gm fresh turmeric, coarsely chopped
12 birdseye chillies, finely chopped
8 golden shallots, coarsely chopped
5 large garlic cloves
2 large lemongrass stalks, white part only, finely chopped
10 gm (2cm piece) ginger, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp black peppercorns, finely crushed
1 tbsp coarsely chopped galangal
1 tsp ground kencur (see note)

  1. Rub pork belly skin and meat with salt and set aside.
  2. For spice paste, process ingredients and 1 tsp fine sea salt in a food processor until a fine paste forms.
  3. Preheat oven to 200C.
  4. Place pork skin-side down on a work surface. Spread over spice paste, sprinkle lime leaves and salam leaves along one long side, then roll to form a long cylinder. Secure with satay sticks or tie at intervals with kitchen string. Brush rind with turmeric juice and leave to marinate in a draughty cool place to dry skin (30 minutes).
  5. Place pork on a rack in a baking dish and roast until skin crackles (30 minutes), then…
  6. reduce oven to 175C and baste occasionally with pan juices until juices run clear when the thickest part of the pork is pierced with a skewer (1-1½ hours).
  7. Rest in a warm place to allow fat to settle (10 minutes). Remove satay sticks or string. Cut away the crackling, thickly slice the meat and serve hot.

Note Salam leaves, or duan salam, are sold dried and are essential in Indonesian cooking. Bay leaves are sometimes suggested as a substitute, but they have a completely different flavour and shouldn’t be used in place of salam leaves. If you cannot find salam leaves, omit altogether. Ground kencur, or kaempferia galanga, is a ground spice with white pepper and ginger tones. Salam leaves and ground kencur are available from Asian grocers

Recipe: Gourmet Traveller

Serves 8

Cooking Time Prep time 30 mins, cook 2 hrs (plus marinating, resting, drying)


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