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Babi Guling: Balinese Roast Pork with Spices

Babi Guling, a Balinese culinary masterpiece, is a mouth-watering roast pork dish that is renowned for its succulent meat and crispy skin, infused with an aromatic blend of local spices. This celebratory dish is traditionally prepared for festive occasions and is a true testament to the rich and diverse flavors of Balinese cuisine. The unique combination of spices and herbs used in Babi Guling imparts a depth of flavor that is unmatched by any other roast pork dish. If you’re a lover of all things porcine and are looking to embark on a culinary adventure that will tantalize your taste buds, Babi Guling is the dish for you.

Babi Guling: Balinese Roast Pork with Spices


  • 1 whole suckling pig or pork shoulder (approximately 4-5 kg)
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, bruised
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups coconut water
  • Salt for seasoning
  • 1 banana leaf (optional)
  • For the spice paste:
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 8 shallots
  • 5 dried red chilies, soaked in warm water
  • 2 fresh red chilies
  • 5 candlenuts
  • 3 cm fresh turmeric
  • 3 cm fresh galangal
  • 3 cm fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp dried shrimp paste (terasi)

Cooking Steps:

  • Prepare the spice paste by blending the garlic, shallots, dried and fresh chilies, candlenuts, turmeric, galangal, ginger, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, and dried shrimp paste in a food processor or using a mortar and pestle until a smooth paste forms.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat, and sauté the spice paste until fragrant and slightly darkened in color. Set aside to cool.
  • Prepare the pig or pork shoulder by cleaning it thoroughly and patting it dry with paper towels. Rub the entire surface of the meat with salt.
  • Stuff the cavity of the pig or the slashes on the pork shoulder with the spice paste and bruised lemongrass stalks, ensuring even distribution of the spices. If using a banana leaf, wrap the pork in the leaf and secure it with butcher’s twine.
  • Preheat your oven or rotisserie grill to 180°C (350°F). Place the pig or pork shoulder on a roasting rack, and roast for approximately 3-4 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 70°C (160°F). Baste the pork with coconut water every 30 minutes during the cooking process to keep it moist and tender.
  • Once the pork is fully cooked, increase the oven temperature to 220°C (425°F) or the grill to high heat, and continue to cook for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the skin is golden and crispy.
  • Remove the Babi Guling from the oven or grill, and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving and serving. Enjoy with steamed rice and your choice of Balinese side dishes or sambal.

In conclusion, Babi Guling is a spectacular showcase of the rich and diverse flavors of Balinese cuisine. When preparing this dish, it is crucial to select a high-quality, fresh pig or pork shoulder to ensure the best results. Additionally, using fresh and authentic Balinese spices and herbs will greatly enhance the flavor of your Babi Guling. As you embark on this culinary adventure, your efforts will be rewarded with a succulent and unforgettable dish that will leave you craving more.

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