Friday, June 25, 2010

"Indonesian" Pulled Pork on Grilled Sticky Rice

You'll note that the Indonesian in the title is sandwiched between quotation marks.  Indonesia is the most populated Muslim country in the world, with approximately 217,000, 000 Muslims.  In as much pork is taboo for Muslims, it does not feature prominently in the cuisine.  In communities that are not Muslim, in Bali, North Sulawesi and North Sumatra for instance, pork is eaten, but I've never had pulled pork anywhere in Indonesia.  In other words, while the spices used are those used in Indonesian cooking, the recipe itself is about as Indonesian as a Taco Bell taco is Mexican.

 "Indonesian" Pulled Pork
(printable recipe)

1 bone-in pork butt, 6--8 lbs.

4 cloves of garlic, chopped, pounded to a paste in a mortar
1 TBS minced ginger, pounded to a paste with the garlic in a mortar

2 TBS ground coffee, I used a dark roast from Sulawesi
2 TBS coriander, dry roasted and ground
1 TBS black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp cumin, dry roasted and ground
3 star anise, dry roasted and ground
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves, ground
1/2 tsp ground cayenne
2 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS kosher salt

Tamarind Mop
4 TBS tamarind pulp
3/4 cup warm water
2 TBS kecap manis
1 TBS ground coriander
1 TBS ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

If the fat cap on the pork is thick, trim it.  Score the fat diagonally in 1 inch squares, being careful not to cut into the meat.  Spread the garlic/ginger paste over the meat.  Combine the dry ingredients and rub into the meat.  Wrap the meat with plastic wrap and place in a refrigerator  overnight.  Remove the meat from the refrigerator two hours before you plan to start smoking.

Smoke the pork (or cook in an oven) at 275° F for 8 to 12 hours, until it reaches an internal temperature of 195° F.  The meat won't shred properly if it doesn't reach this temperature.  Quickly mop with the tamarind mixture every hour after the first 5 hours.  Very often the temperature plateaus--holds at one temperature and seems unable or unwilling to rise--for several hours around the 175° range.  Keep cooking until you get to 195°.  Don't worry, your butt will still be moist ;)

Remove the pork from the smoker (or oven).  You should be able to simply pull the bone from the meat.  Using two large forks, shred the meat by pulling with the forks in opposite directions.  Sauce the meat with the barbecue sauce, or allow diners to do that themselves.

Mango-Curry Barbecue Sauce

4 shallots, minced
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 cup tomato ketchup
1/4 cup of the tamarind mop
2 TBS palm sugar
1/4 cup kecap manis
1/4 tsp cloves, ground
2 TBS mango chutney
2 TBS Madras curry paste 

Heat a  saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add oil, then fry shallots until softened and translucent.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes or so.

Grilled Sticky Rice 
(adapted from Terrific Pacific Cookbook, Von Bremzen and Welchman)
1 1/2 cups sticky (sweet or glutinous) rice
2 TBS water
1 TBS rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 TBS sesame oil
2 TBS roasted sesame seeds, black or white, or combination
1 tsp peanut or vegetable oil

Rinse rice and soak for 8 hours, or overnight.  Rinse and drain rice.  Steam for 40 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl, season with salt, and cool.

Prepare the grill for grilling.

Dissolve the sugar in the water and vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat.  Add this mixture together with the sesame oil, green onions, and sesame seeds to the rice.  Use your hands to mix well.  Form the rice into 6 cakes.  Brush lightly with the peanut oil and grill until the cakes are crispy and just colored, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Asian Slaw

This could be made with any crisp vegetables/fruit.  Red peppers and green mangoes or tart apples would be a nice addition.  Bean sprouts could be added, as well as jicama.  I used cabbage and carrots because that is what I had.  The dressing is roughly equal parts crunchy (natural) peanut butter, rice vinegar, and vegetable oil.  Use a little more vinegar than peanut butter or oil.  Add one or two cloves of garlic, minced, one or two teaspoons of minced ginger,  sriracha,  and kecap manis to taste.

To serve, place some Asian slaw atop each rice cake.  Top with sauced pulled pork.  Enjoy.

This will probably be the last recipe posted for awhile; my wife and I are leaving for Java tomorrow to celebrate my father-in-law's 80th birthday.  Instead of cooking Indonesian food, I'll be busy consuming it, and doing my best to chronicle it all. Don't expect the sort of coverage Gastronomer provided for Saigon or continues to provide  as she eats around the world, but I'll do my best to capture some of the local color.


  1. Thanks for the shout out, Java man!

    Asian-style pulled pork? Wow, oh, wow! Thinking about adapting this recipe for a slow cooker. I love waking up to the smell of tender meat in the morning ;-)

  2. Gastronomer,
    Yeah, I recall how you like your beef. I'm still waiting for that description to pop up in a review, though.
    One thing I've never understood is how you are able to physically eat as much as you seem able to. (I also don't know if I could spend as much as you have on some meals and still enjoy it. More power to you!) Great coverage of Spain, by the way.


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