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Sweet Soy–Braised Pork (Babi Kecap)

4 Servings

1½ hours 50 minutes active

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This savory-sweet braised pork, called babi kecap, is a celebratory dish from Bali, the only Hindu-majority province in the Muslim-majority country of Indonesia. In traditional recipes, kecap manis, or Indonesian sweet soy sauce, supplies rich, dark color as well as salty-sweet notes; we approximate the flavor with a combination of regular soy sauce, molasses and brown sugar. Pork belly or neck often is the cut of choice for babi kecap, but we opted for easier to find but equally tasty pork shoulder or butt. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and sambal, if you wish to add a little heat at the table.




Don’t use blackstrap molasses; it’s strong, bitter flavor will overpower the dish. Opt for either light/mild or robust/full-flavored molasses.

1½ hours

50 minutes active


  • 3

    tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided

  • 2

    tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger


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Tom N.
October 29, 2023
GREAT melding/mix of pungent flavors, sweet, spicy, umami, fantastic.
This is just great. I greatly reduced to serrano to accommodate family's low heat threshold, but wow. i found meat need more like 50 minutes to tender vs. 35. But all good.
Jan B.
March 10, 2023
Simple and Delicious
This is not difficult but takes a little time to prepare. I got a late start on dinner so used my Instant Pot to sauté the shallots then pork. Added the liquid and cooked on high pressure for 12 minutes, quick release. Removed the meat to boil down the sauce for a few minutes. Mixed meat back in with lime, pepper slivers, and cilantro. Delicious over Jasmine rice. Served with Milk Street's Sweet-and-Spicy Ginger Green Beans.
Tess B.

so...if i have kecap manis, how much should be used? 1/2 cup?

Janelle C.

Hi Tess,

This recipe eliminates the need for the sauce, but if you'd like to use it in place of the soy-molasses mixture, start with 1/2 cup and be sure to incorporate the water, chilies and etc to the mixture.

The Milk Street Team

Kate S.

Google for molasses substitutes if needed, there are a few options

Dan C.

My family and I enjoyed this very much. I did have to cook the pork about 15 minutes more to be tender. I also added more lime juice for our taste; it is too sweet as written. I will make this again!

Liane J.

Could you make it with chuck roast instead of pork?

Lynn C.

Hi Liane -

We haven't tested this recipe with chuck roast and, given their different flavors and fat content, I can't guarantee it will work the same in this dish.

The Milk Street Team

Michael Y.

Can you substitute one jalapeno for the two serranos? No serranos available at the moment.

Lynn C.

Hi Michael -

Serranos are 3-4x hotter than jalapeños, so I would stick with two jalapeños to replicate the flavor and get closer to the same heat level. You may find you want it a bit hotter and can add some sambal at the table.

The Milk Street Team

Michael Y.

This was very good though it took me a while longer than ten minutes to thicken the sauce per step 3. About 1.25 jalapenos was enough heat for me since I could not get serranos.