Ingredient Spotlight

This dish is traditionally made with the Macao home-made variant of shrimp paste "Balichão".  Made from dried shrimp fermented with other ingredients this generally takes up to a month to mature.

For a quick (7 day) variant using Chinese shrimp paste a recipe is available


■ 900g|2lb pork belly, or loin cubed

■ 3 bay leaves, crushed finely

■ 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce

■ 1/2 teaspoon of pepper

■ 3 tablespoons of tamarind paste

■ 1/2 cup|120ml of hot water

■ 3 tablespoons of balichão or shrimp paste

■ 1cm|1/2" of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

■ 3 tablespoons raw brown sugar

■ 4 tablespoons of oil

■ chopped spring onion for garnish


1. Cube the pork keeping any skin and fat. Season with soy sauce, pepper, and the crushed bay leaves. Refrigerate and to allow to marinate for 30 minutes or more.

2. Break 3 tablespoons of the tamarind paste into a heatproof bowl or jug and add a 1/2 cup|120ml of hot water. Give it a good stir with a spoon and break up any large lumps.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and brown the pork cubes on all sides. Remove the pork from the pan with all the juices and set aside.

4. In a large saucepan heat 3 tablespoons of oil on medium heat and gently fry the shrimp paste or balichão with the ginger, loosening it by stirring with the oil and taking care not to burn it, about 3 minutes.

5. Add the pork and juices to the pan, the tamarind paste dilution, the sugar, and enough hot water to just cover the pork. Bring the pan to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Check the pork for tenderness; continue to cook a few more minutes if required.

6. When the pork is tender remove the pork from the pan and set aside. Strain the sauce to remove the tamarind pulp; return the sauce and pork to the pan and heat through before serving.

7. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with chopped spring onion. Serve with Pressed Spring Onion Rice

Macao Pork with Shrimp-Tamarind Sauce Recipe

Porco Balichão-Tamarinho

Prep: 30m | Cook: 45m | Serves: 4-5 | Easy

Macau Braised Pork with a Shrimp-Tamarind Sauce | Porco Balichão-Tamarinho

Recipe adapted from "Macanese Cooking: A Journey Across Generatons", by Cecília Jorge, published by A.P.I.M, 2004

Braised Pork in shrimp-tamarind sauce.