Babi Lemak (Pork in Coconut Milk)- Nonja Singapore
30 shallots (bawang merah) or 4 medium brown onions
16 red chillies, soaked or according to taste
8 buah keras also goes by kemirie* (candlenuts)
1 teaspoon blacan/trasi* (dried shrimp paste
2 pounds lean pork, cubed
2 cups water
2 cups thick coconut milk
2 tablespoons gula melaka/gula djawa* (palm sugar) or brown sugar
4 tablespoons limau kesturi* (Chinese lime juice)or lemon juice
salt to taste
Grind shallots or onions, candlenuts, chillies and dried shrimp paste together until fine; for this you can use either a mortar and pestle* (batu lesong) or a food processor. Heat oil in a wok and gently fry the ground ingredients, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add pork, and cook until it changes color and is well coated with spice paste. Add water and salt, cover wok, and simmer gently until pork is just tender.
Remove lid and add coconut milk. Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Just before serving add sugar and lime juice. Check and adjust seasonings to taste. Yield 4 servings.
*These ingredients can be purchased at your local Oriental food market such as 99 Ranch Market and on the Internet.
Pairs Well With
Some of you might wonder what Nonja food is, it is a blending of Chinese and Malay cuisine also known as Straight born Chinese cuisine. Chinese immigrants first came to Malay more than 400 years ago, settled in Malacca and many married Malay women, Hence the blending of the two types of food. Although Nonja food is somewhat similar to other Oriental food including Indonesian, Thai and Indian, it has its own distintive tastes and flavors. Unfortunate when you visit Singapore you will have to do a lot of research to find restaurants which serve Nonja food, because they are not as commom as Hokkien, Cantonese or Teocchew.
This recipe we found in our Singpore cookbook called "Singapore Food" by Wendy Hutton.
BTW, I like this recipe!