By : Ilona Salim
This recipe took a while to put up. After some research, intense discussions with aunties & grandmas and even a HOT OIL accident that ruined my kitchen (it was truly like a volcanic oil eruption in my kitchen), I present to you.... the Babi Hong recipe. This dish is very close to my heart, it is a Chinese Indonesian dish that you can find in old "Chindo" restaurants here in Jakarta. Basically, it is this extremely flavor infused pork belly dish, that is prepared by steaming the pork for several hours. The dish doesn't always come with the preserved vegetables, but I could not bear cook without it. For me, these two main ingredients are like partners that should never be separated haha! They definitely compliment each other and provide the depth of flavor you need to truly experience this. As always, it is best served with warm white rice!
Disclaimer, that it is not the best recipe. I wish I had the age-old knowledge and skill to make this dish like the "grandmas" do, but some cooking secrets really do stay with them.
The Recipe - Babi Hong
500 grams pork belly
100 grams dried sayur asin (dried preserved vegetable) **see note*
4 pieces of star anise
1.5 stick of cinnamon
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 tbsp pepper corn
1-2 tsp salt
4 tbsp soy sauce (to rub on skin)
4 stalks of green onion
3-4 inches of ginger
4 Tbsp of reserved soy sauce (soy sauce that was used to rub on pork skin)
1 Tbsp mirin
2 tsp sugar
1 cup water/cooking liquid
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
Boil a pot of water (enough to submerge the pork belly).
Into the pot of water, add staranise, cinnamon stick, garlic cloves, peppercorns and 1-2 tsp of salt.
Once the water boils, add in your pork belly pieces. Let simmer for 30-45 minutes.
While the pork cooks, soak the dried preserved vegetable.
Rinse the preserved vegetables a few times to make sure it’s clean.
Now chop green onions into 4 inch pieces, chop ginger into 1/2 inch slices, and chop preserved vegetables (2 inch in length).
Once the pork is done boiling, remove and put in a bowl. Save the cooking liquid to make sauce.
Prick the skin side of the pork.
Add 4 tbsp of soy sauce and rub into pork.
(OPTIONAL STEP) I read in many recipes to fry the pork belly. I did this but got into some HOT OIL ACCIDENT (burnt my hand eek). So I don’t recommend doing this if you don’t have a big wok and a proper cover to protect yourself. If you do do this, make sure to pat the pork belly DRY. Then fry for 1-2 min skin side down, to darken the skin. You don’t need it to crisp up. FEEL FREE TO SKIP THIS STEP THOUGH.
Slice the pork belly into your desired sizes.
In a wok, heat up a bit of oil. Stir fry the green onions, ginger and preserved vegetables.
Add the ingredients for the sauce (reserved soy sauce, mirin, sugar, cooking liquid, sesame oil and oyster sauce).
Let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Assemble the pork as shown in the video in a heat save bowl.
Add the veggies on top of it.
Steam for 2 hours.
Now… enjoy! :)
You can buy the dried preserved vegetable online. It’s called tong cai (under the brang Tian Jin).