Friday, January 8, 2016

Indonesian Sweet Pork

At least a year or two before I left my old life, I received a cookbook as a Christmas gift. It is called Best-Ever: 500 Simply Delicious Recipes. Since I was not cooking from scratch I never used it till June 16, 2015. The first recipe I tried was sweet pork. It called for kecap manis, an Indonesian sweet soy sauce. It also called for shallots, fish sauce, palm sugar, cilantro, white pepper, and of course pork. Since it included kecap manis, an Indonesian ingredient I surmised it was Indonesian of origin.

I looked up Indonesian sweet pork; the commonly found name for this dish is Babi Kecap. Typically it includes a few more ingredients: ginger, garlic, red bird’s eye chilis, tamarind, and Chinese five spice. I made the version from my cookbook, before looking up the more traditional versions of the dish. I served it over jasmine rice. It hit all the right notes for me, plus kecap manis is sweetened with palm sugar. I have trouble with the most common form of sugar, cane sugar. Discovering a new alternative was wonderful.


On December 30, 2015 I made it for the second time. Once again it was a hit. Next time the plan is to try one of the more traditional versions of the dish, especially with my growing fondness of chilis. The Best-Ever cookbook is a British publication, so I was surprised at the toned down version presented in the book. From what I understand British love Indian cuisine, Pakistani cuisine, and the spicier elements of Chinese cuisine. Finding a recipe in a cookbook targeted to that nation with the chilis removed seemed unusual. Maybe the Author of the original recipe did not know of the British tastes.

Overall this recipe is great and has entered my culinary repertoire. I have yet to be disappointed by a recipe in this cookbook. I however have only made 4 or 5 dishes from it. There is no author credited and it was published in 2007 by Bay Books.  

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