Bé Balung – Pork and Jackfruit Soup

Along with lawar and sayur urab, bé balung is a staple food for Balinese ceremonies. It’s possible to make balung with other meat or vegetables but this Balung recipe using pork and young jackfruit is the most common and a real Balinese classic.

Balung needs to be cooked for a really long time for the meat to become tender and the young jackfruit to soak up the flavour of the spice paste. In Bali, people often cook balung for days in the embers of a fire. Cooking for a long time over a low heat on the hob or using a slow cooker works well, too.

Ingredients (serves 6 people):
500 gr pork belly (diced into 2cm cubes)
2 tins of jackfruit (or 1 kilo of fresh young jackfruit)
3 bay leaves
1 stalk of lemongrass (crushed)
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
11/2 litres of water
1 cube of vegetable stock

Spice paste (grind in a pestle and mortar or blend in a food processor):
2 shallots
4 cloves of garlic
2 large red chillis
A 2cm piece of ginger
A 4cm piece of galangal
A 4cm piece of fresh tumeric
A 5cm piece of kencur (white ginger or lesser galangal)
1/2tsb corriander seeds
1/2tsb cumin powder
1 candlenut (if available)
1/4tsb of nutmeg powder
1/4tsb sesame seeds
1tsb shrimp paste
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the pork with the spice paste, jackfruit, bay leaves, lemongrass and vegetable oil until the spice paste is evenly distributed
Heat 1 1/2 litres of water and add the vegetable stock then add the other ingredients and simmer until the meat is cooked. This dish will taste better the longer you cook it for – aim for a minimum of 2 hours.
Remove from the heat and serve with rice.

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