Saturday, September 16, 2006

Babi Tarik

or, if you would rather know it by its ang-mor name, Pulled Pork!

I must admit that Pulled Pork has always existed as a concept in my mind until now - I've only known vaguely what it is while dining at the occasional burger joint like Blooies or Hard Rock, where Pulled Pork is served in sandwiches. I also know that the traditional way to prepare pulled pork is over a barbecue. But not having a barbecue on the ready, some other recipes I've searched up on also mention that you can use a slow cooker, which won't give exactly the same results, but would be good enough if you know how to add the flavours in at which points of the cooking process. Besides, we're on a budget, right? I spent $8 on the meat, which is enough to last me for four or five meals (two, if you're Hobart) and the rest of the ingredients I picked out from what I had lying at home, so it is pretty cost efficient. You'll need a slow cooker for this recipe, along with plenty of time. I mean, overnight cooking plenty.

Babi Tarik AKA Pulled Pork

For the pork:
Twee Bak - ok, lost in translation here. Most recipes call for a shoulder cut of meat or something called a "Boston Butt". But I'm in freaking Singapore here! All my cuts are in Chinese names. Go for a thick chunk of meat that has a layer of fat on one side. Over here, I got two pieces of Twee Bak, which my dad says is a loin meat.
1 onion, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, whole, smashed but intact
2 cinnamon sticks
3 tbsp Worcester sauce (I just agar-rated)
3 tbsp red wine vinegar (I also agar-rated)
1 tbsp cloves

For the sauce:
Tomato ketchup
Tabasco sauce
Worcester sauce
Fresh black pepper
Liquid from pork

1. Stud meat with cloves. Line bottom of slow cooker with onions, followed by the rest of the ingredients except the meat and water.

2. Lay meat on top of the ingredient mess and then pour water to cover. Slow cook for 12 hours. (Go and sleep. I did this after dinner, and worked on it for lunch the next day.)

3. [12 hours later] Drain the meat on a rack and pull out cloves, as much as you can. They'll be soft after all that cooking, but then again, so will the meat. You can also easily peel off the layer of fat and return it to the liquid to let the flavours infuse. Place meat on a large plate to rest.

4. Strain the remaining liquid to get rid of the solids. Skim the surface to remove as much fat as possible. (Throw the solids away. They're no good for anything anymore.)

5. Mix the sauce! I didn't put any quantities because a lot of agar-ration is required. The sauce should be at least 2/3 ketchup, with worcester, tabasco and the honey added to your taste of honey and sweetness. Finally, the cooking liquid should make the third of the sauce to form a syrupy consistency.

6. Using two forks, "pull" the meat apart so that they form fine shreds. That's where the name comes from. Once meat is separated, pour sauce over and mix well, taking care not to form a paste and keeping the shredded meat consistency.

7. Serve in a sandwich! Or with a mash and coleslaw. It's a long cooking process, but rather quite worth it.


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