Babi Pangang (Pork with Sweet & Sour Red Sauce)

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Babi Panggang is Malaysian/Indonesian for “roasted pork”. So why did I spell it with only one ‘g’ in the title of this post? Because this is the Dutch version that is only known in the Netherlands (and perhaps Belgium) and is one of the top-5 dishes served in ‘Chinese’ take-out restaurants in the Netherlands. And we spell it with only one g. These restaurants are ‘Chinese’ instead of Chinese because these restaurants serve a Dutchified version of Chinese-Indonesian fusion. This dish has been served in the Netherlands for decades and is so well known by the local population, that I suppose we can start calling it authentic Dutch food 😉

The Dutch version of Babi Pangang is roasted pork (or boiled pork that is then deep fried or grilled), either pork belly or pork shoulder, with a sweet and sour red sauce and atjar (sweet and sour cabbage with turmeric). Compared to the typical restaurant version, the babi pangang in the picture has more of the cabbage (atjar) and less of the sauce. In the restaurant version, the meat is completely drowned in the sauce. I put less sauce on it for the picture, so you could actually see the meat. I used more cabbage simply because it’s healthier.

Babi Pangang is very nice if you like sweet and sour. It is quite easy to make, it is mostly a matter of measuring out and mixing ingredients. The only tricky part is making sure the meat is both crispy and juicy. This time around I roasted it in the oven, but next time I will use sous-vide again to pre-cook the meat to keep the meat more juicy. I used this recipe (in Dutch) as a basis for my version.

The Pork

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For 2 servings

300 grams (.66 lb) pork belly or pork shoulder

For the marinade

juice and zest of 1 lime

1/2 Tbsp hoisin sauce

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1 small onion, minced

1 1/2 Tbsp ketjap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce)

1 Tbsp sambal oelek

2 Tbsp shaohsing (Chinese rice wine)

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

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To make the marinade, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat until the onion is soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

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Add the soy sauce…

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…and the lime zest…

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…and the lime juice…

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…and the hoisin sauce…

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…and the sambal oelek…

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…and the shaohsing…

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…and the ginger.

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Stir and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

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Cut the pork into thick (3 cm or 1 inch) slices.

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Score the meat in a diamon pattern.

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Rub the marinade into the meat and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

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Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Pat the pork dry with paper towels.

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Put the pork on a grill with a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper underneath to catch the drippings.

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Roast for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned and cooked through.

For the ‘atjar’ cabbage

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For 2 servings

400 grams of shredded cabbage (about 1/2 head)

1 Tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)

2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 clove garlic

80 ml (1/3 cup) rice vinegar

80 ml (1/3 cup) water

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp salt

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Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the stem.

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Shred the cabbage (which you should do more finely than I did).

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Sauté the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil over medium heat until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

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Add the cabbage…

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…and the ginger…

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…and the sugar…

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…and the turmeric…

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…and the salt…

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…and the vinegar…

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…and the water.

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Stir and bring to a boil.

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Cover and lower the heat. Simmer over low heat (barely boiling) until the cabbage is tender but still firm to the bite, about 30 minutes.

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Taste whether the cabbage is tender and correctly seasoned.

For the Sweet & Sour Red Sauce

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For 2 servings

1/2 can (200 grams/7 oz) peeled tomatoes, pureed in the food processor

1 tsp sambal oelek

1 Tbsp double-concentrated tomato paste

1 Tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)

2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 Tbsp sweet ginger syrup (or substitute with another tsp of freshly grated ginger and another tsp of sugar)

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

1/2 Tbsp ketjap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)

1 Tbsp corn starch

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Combine all the ingredients except the corn starch in a saucepan. (I did’n’t feel like doing even more pouring shots.)

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Stir to mix and bring to a boil.

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Mix the corn starch with a bit of cold water, and add the mixture to the sauce. Stir for another minute until the sauce has a slightly thick consistency. Add more corn starch mixed with water if you like the sauce thicker.

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Taste and adjust the flavor to your liking with sambal oelek, vinegar, salt, sambal oelek, ginger, or ketjap manis.

To serve

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Start with a base of the cabbage.

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Slice the meat…

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…and arrange the sliced meat on top of the cabbage.

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Cover with the sauce and serve with rice.

Wine pairing

This requires a hefty white that can handle the sweet and sour, such as a Mosel Riesling (Auslese or Spätlese, Halbtrocken/Feinherb) or a Gewürztraminer from Alto Adige or Alsace.

Flashback


Two years ago I also prepared something with ginger, but quite different and more refined. This Japanese chicken loaf with eggplant and ginger is very original and delicious.

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15 thoughts on “Babi Pangang (Pork with Sweet & Sour Red Sauce)

  1. This looks so good, regardless of it’s authenticity. Sweet and Sour pork is possibly the most popular “Chinese” dish in New Zealand too. As a New Zealander with Chinese ethnicity, I always giggle when my husband orders sweet and sour pork but I’ll chow down on it too.

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  2. This looks amazing Stefan! You are honestly ‘just something else’!! Hey – any plans for spending another holiday on that boat where you did all that amazing cooking?

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  3. Fabulous, Stefan! Absolutely fabulous! And I have not prepped cabbage quite like that!! Actually a tad ‘fusion’ in the area, with which I love to experiment . . . have not used shaoshing as far south as Indonesia or had hoisin together with ketjap manis too many times [and the latter is usually the first for which I’ll reach 🙂 !] Want to copy it exactly as you truly have made a very welcome journey to ‘our’ world !!!!!

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  4. Interesting … It looks rather like this may be an fusion of Indonesian-Chinese with Indonesian-Indian. The ‘Ajar’ certainly sounds like ‘Achar’ which means pickle or relish…

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  5. Actually I’m so happy seeing “Kecap manis ABC” in your pictures because I’m Indonesian 🙂 I’ll try this recipe with chicken instead… Hope it’ll turn out great!

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