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1 suckling pig, weighing about 6-8 kg (13-17 lb)
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
10 shallots, peeled and sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
5 cm (2 in) ginger, peeled and chopped
15 candlenuts, chopped
10 cm (4 in) fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed
5 cm (2 in) laosfinely chopped
25-30 bird's-eye chillies
10 stalks lemon grass, sliced
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon dried shrimp paste, roasted
5 fragrant lime leaves, finely shredded
2 salamleaves
2 1/2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons turmeric water

Ensure the inside of the suckling pig is completely cleaned out. Season inside and outside with salt.

Combine all other ingredients, except turmeric water, and mix thoroughly. Fill the inside of the suckling pig with this mixture, close the belly with string or thin satay skewers. Rub the outside of the pig with turmeric water until the skin is shiny yellow. Place the suckling pig on a roasting rack and roast in hot oven (220°C/425°F) for approximately one hour. Rest for 10 minutes in warm place before serving.

When serving, first remove the crisp skin with a strong carving knife, then loosen meat from the bones and cut into even dice or slices. Place a heaped tablespoon of stuffing on each serving plate, then top with meat and skin. Traditionally this dish is eaten with Jukut Nangka Mekuah and steamed rice.

More about Bali Food and Holiday

During the Balinese holy days of Galungan and Kuningan, Balinese really love to eat meat, especially pork. In fact, in less prosperous times, a typical Balinese consumed the majority of his or her annual animal protein during these holidays. The day that precedes each of these holidays is called Penampahan, and this day marks the climax of food and religious offering preparations for the next day's ceremony. On the morning of Penampahan, Balinese head to market before dawn to purchase enough food to last at least three days.

Once home, Balinese prepare pork in a number of ingenious ways, the most famous of which is lawar. The ritual act of preparing lawar (and traditional saté, for that matter) holds such significance in Balinese culture that it is given its own word: mebat. This applies to its preparation not only in the home, but even in the village meeting house, or balai banjar. (While in Bali, look around the village meeting houses and you may see dozens of men assembled, collectively employing crude cleavers and cutting boards in a communal mebat.) Boiled young jackfruit, long beans, young papaya, and raw coconut are grated or finely chopped, then added to cooked minced pork. It takes a good hand to do the rest, mixing the above ingredients with perfect proportions of fried sliced garlic and sliced shallots, a paste of at least fifteen spices, friend shrimp paste, hot chilies, kaffir lime leaves and juice, and salt. And in defiance of all conventional food hygiene, some Balinese still add a generous dose of raw pig's blood to redden the dish and add flavor. Trust us, it's not necessary. On the morning of Penampahan, lawar is usually ready to eat by 7 or 8 a.m., and it is consumed immediately before the ingredients sour. Believe it or not, it's not the meat that sours first. It's the coconut.

Stomachs full, Balinese then begin making the other pork preparations, including babi kecap (a pork stew) and tum babi, little dumplings of minced pork and spices wrapped and steamed in banana leaves. And ever-economical and practical, Balinese prolong the shelf life of lawar-if there are indeed any leftovers-by wrapping it into dumplings and steaming it along with the tum babi.

Ducks also meet their demise during the holidays. You should not leave the island without trying bebek tutu, Balinese smoked duck. Traditionally, it's a dish a Balinese would only prepare for a ceremony since it involves at least six hours of ingredient preparation, and as many hours again to smoke in a mound of rice husks. Many Balinese now supplement their livings by supplying smoked ducks to the big hotels, most of which don't want the smoke disturbing their guests. Kafe Batan Waru can provide you with this specialty given a day's advance notice.

Speaking of ducks, since they feed in the rice paddies on worms and insects, they themselves are considered to have a pure diet and their meat is suitable to be consumed by the Balinese Hindu priests. It's useful to know that lawar and tum can also both be prepared with rice field feeding duck if you have to feed a priest.

Yet another famous Balinese pork dish is the famed Babi Guling, a spit-roasted whole pig stuffed with a delicious mix of herbs and spices. Baby babi guling can often be seen as the centerpiece of religious offerings, left there just long enough to satisfy the deities, and then eagerly seized and sliced up to serve the pious. Balinese prize the golden skin, so crisp you can snap it in two. Again, many make their fortunes selling babi guling strictly for human consumption. You'll see food stalls all over the island selling it, or you can order it in advance at Kafe Batan Waru.


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