One of the most famous delicacies from Hindu Bali, babi guling, or spit-roasted suckling pig, is a firm favourite for any visitor to the island. Tender and delicious with perfect crackling, the pigs roasted in Bali often weigh 6kg-8kg. The traditional method of making this dish is to rub the cavity with a mixture of spices and sometimes tapioca leaves, then rub the skin with turmeric juice before roasting. As this option is not readily accessible to the home cook, I have come up with this version using pork belly. In fact, you can use just about any cut of pork.
- 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
- 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 ginger, coarsely chopped (2cm piece)
- 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)
- 1Rub pork belly skin and meat with salt and set aside.
- 2For spice paste, process ingredients and 1 tsp fine sea salt in a food processor until a fine paste forms.
- 3Place 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).
- 4Preheat oven to 200C. Place pork on a rack in a baking dish and roast until skin crackles (30 minutes), then 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). 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. This recipe is from the June 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.