PORCO BALECHAO TAMARINHO (Pork cooked with Tamarind and Shrimp Paste) and ARROZ CARREGADO (Compressed Rice)
600g pork belly or pork shoulder, cut into large cubes (traditionally with skin)
Mix the tamarind paste with 1/2 cup of water (or if using dried tamarind slices soak in 1/2 of hot water for 30 mins). Fry balecho in oil or lard until fragrant. Add the pork and fry for 3 to 5 mins until browned.
Strain the tamarind juice into the pork with enough liquid to barely cover the meat. If there is not enough liquid to cover, add more water to the tamarind and strain again. Add thick sweet soya sauce for colouring and half a slab of brown sugar.
Bring to a boil then reduce and let simmer for about 40 minutes. At this point you can add cubed pineapples. When the gravy is reduced to a syrupy consistency the pork will be tender. You can taste for salt and for the sweet-sour balance. If it is too sour add more of the remaining sugar slab.
Traditionally it is eaten with Arroz Carregado but it can be eaten with plain white rice as well.
1 heaped tbsp. tamarind paste (or 4 slices dried tamarind)
2 tbsp. balecho
½ tbsp. thick sweet soya sauce
1 slab Chinese brown sugar to taste (or normal sugar)
Optional: Pineapples, either 1 large tin or fresh, cut into cubes
500g of medium grain rice or jasmine rice, washed and strained
Heat the oil or lard to medium heat, then add the leek and fry until fragrant but be careful not to burn or brown as this is just to flavour the oil. Add the ½ tsp. salt and the strained washed rice. Fry the rice grains for 2 to 3 minutes to infuse with flavour by coating with the oil.
Put all the rice in a rice cooker with hot water and let it cook. The hot water will open the rice better. When the rice is done, it will be softer than normal. Turn the rice out onto a plate and mould into a shape or just press down on it to compress it.
It can be eaten warm or cool, but not hot because it only becomes sticky when left to cool slightly. Only then can it be sliced to serve.
The quantity of rice to water is 1 part rice to 2.5 parts water. This ensures the rice is cooked slightly more than normal.
3 tablespoons lard or oil
6 Chinese leeks or spring onions, white part only, finely chopped
½ tsp. salt
1.5l of water with 1 tsp. of salt