On Wednesday, my friend (Sha-rin) invited a group of us to her place to learn how to make Babi Rica from her Indonesian friend, Ibu Vien. Sha-rin was moving from Jakarta to Sydney for good and Babi Rica was the one dish she wanted to master before leaving.
There were about 10 of us in total so we had to make several batches. In order to make the Rica Bumbu (seasoning), quite a number of spices/ingredients were required. They had to be peeled, cut, and blended together. Effort indeed.
Upon seeing the sheer amount of effort involved, someone asked Ibu Vien if she could pre-make the sauce for us (such a Singaporean thing to do right!) for future use. Well, I personally wouldn’t mind paying more for a pre-made bottled sauce if I could use it right away, saving time and effort. Ibu Vien looked at us in disbelief. I think she was on the verge of rolling her eyes haha.
Ibu Vien told us that if we wanted our Babi Rica to be on the spicier side, we could add more chili, keeping the total number of chili used odd. If we wanted it to be less spicy, we could use less chili but the total number of chili used had to be even. So strange. Ibu Vien swears by it so I’ll be following this golden chili rule next time.
For the Babi Rica batch she was demonstrating on, Ibu Vien added quite a bit of chili but kept the total amount of chili even. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as hot as I expected it to be!
Here’s a picture of our Babi Rica in all its glory:
It was SOOOOO GOOOOOOOOD. Not sure if I’ll ever get down to replicating it for Agent D though. The preparation process is a little too time consuming (unless Ibu Vien picks up on our suggestion on the pre-made sauce hee).
For those who are interested in making Babi Rica at home, here’s the recipe (many thanks to Candy for typing it out) below:
Babi Rica Recipe (for 1 kg of pork, serves 4)
- 1 kg Pork (if using pork belly, use part with more meat and less fats)
- 3 stalks of spring onion (cut 1cm diagonally)
- 110g of cabe keriting merah (about 30 pieces)
- 50g of cabe rawit (remove stalk)
- 30g of basil leaves (about 1 handful, ¾ cup)
- 2 stalks of local lemongrass/ serai (use the white part only & chop into 1 cm bits)
- 2 cm of ginger / jahe
- 10g of kaffir leaves / daun jeruk (about 10 pieces)
- 80g of shallots / bawang merah (about 20 pieces)
- 1 head of old/mature garlic (remove skin)
- 2 cm if turmeric / kunyit
- 2-3 pieces of candlenut
- Cut shallots, cabe keriting merah, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, turmeric and candlenut into smaller pieces. Put everything into the blender with some water (about 40ml) to make the Rica bumbu.
- Add bumbu (blended in step 1) into a large pot with oil. The amount of oil used should be enough to cover the bumbu in the pot. Stir-fry on high heat for about 20 mins.
- When the bumbu is about half dry, add half the kaffir leaves and pork together with 80-90 ml of water.
- When the sauce becomes drier and almost like a thick paste, add salt to taste. Then add cabe rawit, spring onion, basil leaves and the remaining kaffir leaves. Continue to simmer until the pork reaches its preferred softness.
Some tips from Ibu Vien
*Do not wash the pork and vegetables until they are ready to be stir-fried.
*Instead of using pork, you may also use chicken. Preferably, kampong chicken.