This is the perfect summer Barbecue dish. Thats because all the heat is happening outside and all that is happening inside is the salad, well that is unless you have a fussy eater who wants rice too.
I have a friend in Bali at the moment and it is the first time she has been to any part of Asia. Its all about the smells and the people and the traffic and yes, so much about the food. I think she is on sensory overload right now. I first went to Bali when I was 19. There were a lot of firsts for me there. One of them was Babi Guling. This is a Balinese specialty Roast Pork with a complex mixture of spices. It is cooked inside and out with an intense mix of turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, chilli, ginger, coriander, pepper and shallots amongst other things. The meat is delicate and tender as it is very young piglets and the skin cracks in almost glass like shards.
Another first for me in Bali was a boyfriend and he took me to a village out past Ubud to meet his family. I had no idea I was being auditioned for a spot as the bride, but apparently that is what was happening. Wayan and I were just friends (or so I thought) and I was an intrepid traveler who liked to get close to the local culture. I thought it was an amazing opportunity to see another side of Bali.
On the afternoon of the day we arrived, Wayan said that his Mother and Sister had asked me to accompany them to the pool at the temple. Balinese bathe twice a day and they were being very polite offering to take me to a special place at the temple to share the evening bath. Balinese are very shy and taking a Westerner along to the evening bath time was a big deal for them. He told me to wear my Sarong so that I stayed covered up. His family were intensely proud of him because he could speak English and had a job in Kuta. It is quite a status symbol to be able to have a foreigner visit your home in Bali. Every one lives in very close proximity to each other and there aren’t many secrets. So off I went to the temple, and when I got to the gateway there was big sign discouraging impure and menstruating women inside. What?. There I was at the temple gateway with two women who could not speak a word of English. Two women I did not know and who were already nervous about the Westerner, but they smiled as they passed others they knew. People exchanged little quips and they put their arms around my waist in a friendly gesture to demonstrate that they not only knew a Westerner but were actually quite good friends with one as well!
Meanwhile I was running through all of the possibilities in my mind. How on earth was I going to point at that sign and say…what you mean I can’t come in and have a bath?. But I didn’t. I figured that these were not my rules or demons and as long as their wasn’t some kind of Neptune Devil springing from beneath the temple water then things would be better if I shut up. In Bali menstruating women or women within 3 months of child birth are considered to be impure and may not enter temples or participate in any religious activity. We bathed and returned to the compound with no-one being the wiser. I wasn’t struck down and nothing happened but that certainly didn’t make me feel any better.
Wayan was upset when I returned to partying with my friends back in Kuta the next day. And, just so you know he did propose. We had known each other for 1 and 1/2 weeks. Clearly I was more irresistible when I was younger.
My barbecued Pork is not quite a Bali suckling pig, it has very little in the way of spices but it does have the lovely spicy salad to go with it. You will need a barbecue with a lid or alternatively cook it in the oven. I don’t usually like fruit in savoury dishes but peaches are a great flavour when grilled and added to this salad. They cut through the rich tasting meat and give a little sweet acidity that works with the chilli. If you don’t have peaches you could use grilled pineapple.
- You need a heavy duty baking dish with a rack. Preheat the barbecue and bring it up to temperature , between 200- 250C/ 400-450F
- 1 kg Pork belly without bone
- 1 heaped Tablespoon course salt
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon cardomom seeds
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil ( or another oil of your choice)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 3 peaches cut in ½ and deseeded
- 1 cup picked coriander
- 1 cup picked mint leaves
- 2 cups julienned snow peas
- 1 small Lebanese cucumber sliced
- ¼ cup finely sliced red onion or shallots ( I slice and pour over boiling water then rinse to remove the bite)
- ½ cup fried shallots ( you can buy these at an Asian grocery store)
- 1 sliced chilli ( optional)
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon boiling water
- 1 Tablespoon light soy
- 2 cloves garlic
- washed and chopped coriander roots and stems ( from the picked coriander)
- 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
- Score the skin with a very sharp knife. Pound the spices and the salt together with a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.
- Place the rack into the baking dish and pour the cup of hot water over the pork skin, letting the water catch in the bottom of the baking dish. Pat the skin dry then rub all over with a generous amount of oil.
- Rub the salt mixture into the skin well. Put the baking dish into the barbecue. Mine spans both the open grill and the flat plate. Put the lid down and leave the heat on full for approximately 40 minutes. The skin will start to crackle and pop. Check it half way to make sure it is not burning. Turn down a fraction if it is colouring too much
- Turn the heat down to halfway or about 150C/ 300 F and cook for a further 1 hour. the meat will be easily sliced and tender and the skin very crisp. Set aside to rest.
- While the meat is cooking make the dressing. Find a jar or container with a lid to make the nuoc cham. Mix the sugar and boiling water till it starts to dissolve. Add the lemon juice fish sauce and soy and mix well. Then the chopped garlic, ginger, & coriander stems and roots. set aside.
- Mix the herbs, snowpeas, cucumber, onion, fried shallots and the sliced chilli's ( if using)
- When the pork is done coat the peaches with a some oil and grill till coloured. Cool a little, slice and mix into the salad
- STRAIN the dressing and toss through the Salad
- Serve immediately with a piece of pork belly. There will be approximately 3 medium or 4 smaller slices