Saturday, November 3, 2012

Babi Chin (Fragrant Pork) and Nonya Cuisine

What is Nonya Cuisine

I wonder too myself when  I saw this mini cookbook when I was browsing the rack of a bookstore nearby, which by the way was years ago, even before I started blogging.

As I skim the pages, I found some interesting recipes to which I know I can easily make and since the cookbook is cheap, Php120.00 ($2.8), I bought one.

According to the book, Nonya Cuisine is simply a fusion of Southeast Asian herbs and spices with Chinese ingredients in a dish that is the culinary legacy of the Straits (or Peranakan) Chinese communities is Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia (Nonya Favorites, Periplus Mini Cookbooks, 2001). Interesting huh?  It was also said that even before the word "fusion" became popular in the culinary world, Nonya cuisine has been in existence.

Some of the common ingredients in any Nonya kitchen would be the following: lemongrass, chillies, belacan (shrimp paste) galangal, turmeric (in Filipino, luyang dilaw) and coconut milk.

If there is one dish that I have been cooking from this book for several times already is called Babi Chin or Fragrant Pork.  Such a simple name for a tasty meal. I bet you, the preparation to make this dish is as simple as 1, 2, 3.

I came to love this dish not only because of how easy it is to make but because of the flavors it has.  The spices used in this creation are made in heaven. Whoever invented this recipe was a genius. The flavors are not too strong, just right for you to have another spoonful for you can't get enough.  You know that feeling when you eat something and the flavors linger but at the same time gone and you want more?  Get what I mean?  This dish does that!

This pork entree gives justice to its name for your kitchen and the whole house will definitely have the I-want-to-eat-now feeling because of its aroma.

This, by the way, can be made in advance and reheat when needed.  Better actually to eat it the next day for by this time, the flavors have developed and is tastier than when you eat it right after cooking.  Trust me on this *wink*

Before I forget, another thing I love about this dish is it's eaten with steamed rice.

Babi Chin or Fragrant Pork
Print this Recipe

I used pork ribs when I made this last week (for photo) and I will never do it again, pork fats gives this dish more flavor

500gms pork belly, cut into cubes (2"x2") or any pork parts with fats
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup chopped shallots or red onion
6 gloves of garlic, sliced
1 Tbsp ground coriander
4 pcs star anise
8 large dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in water to soften, squeeze excess liquid then cut into strips
1 Tbps dark soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp rock salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper (black pepper will do if you do not have white)
1 liter water

1.  Over medium flame, heat oil in a sauce pan and fry shallots until fragrant, add garlic and saute for 1 minute.
2.  Add star anise and coriander.  Cook for another minute.
3.  Add your mushrooms and pork.  Fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until pork looses its outer pink color.
4.  Add soy sauce, sugar, pepper and water.
5.  Bring to boil then reduce to simmer.  Cook covered for 1.5 hours (or until pork is very tender) stirring occasionally to prevent from burning.

You can skip step 6 and 7 if you wish, though it's recommended you do.
6.  Set aside for at least an hour at room temperature for flavors to develop.
7.  Reheat and serve hot.



  1. That is interesting - but how could I understand a fusion cuisine like this, unless I had a handle on the other two cuisines - which I don't! They are SO broad and vast. However, if it tastes good - its enough. This looks delicious. Don't be a stranger!

    1. Thanks for dropping by Valerie :) I appreciate it!

      hope you can try eating some of these dishes :)

  2. I does sound like it would have awesome flavor! Must try this soon :) Especially since I love pork belly! ;)

    1. same here Joey, i love pork belly!

      thanks for stopping by and for the sweet comments :)

  3. hmmm.... i was trying to put on a comment pero biglang nawala... anyway ulitin ko nalang....

    I was saying that you did a great job with the photos in your blog... nakakagutom talaga! hahaha... thats good right! hope to see more from you!

    ian of

  4. Thanks for the encouraging words ian...your blog looks nice too!

  5. The food looks good. I was starving to that. I think I should try this.

    pinoy food

    1. Thanks Samantha! let me know what you of it when you do, okay?

      Appreciate you stopping by :)


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