Porco balichão tamarindo – Macanese tamarind-braised pork


This rich, flavourful pork dish perfectly represents the unique blend of flavours that is Macanese cuisine. Portuguese traders arrived in Macao in the sixteenth century, bringing spices and ingredients from Africa, India and Southeast Asia. These were combined with Portuguese and local Chinese dishes into what many believe was the world's first fusion cuisine (read more about Macao's incredible food scene here). The tamarind and shrimp paste in the sauce adds an intense depth of flavour to the stew, which is perfect served alongside Japanese rice.

First published in 2019






Season the pork with the tamari, white pepper and crushed bay leaves, then place in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours (or ideally overnight)
The next day, place the tamarind paste in a bowl and add around 150ml of hot pork stock (or water). Stir until fully combined
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan and brown the pork cubes all over (you may need to do this in batches). Once caramelised, remove the pork from the pan along with any juices and set aside
  • 6 tbsp of grapeseed oil
Pour the remaining oil into a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the shrimp paste and ginger. Gently fry, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes. Add the pork and any juices to the pan along with the tamarind water and sugar. Pour in the remaining pork stock until the meat is just covered (you may not need all of it). Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until the pork is tender
  • 1 knob of fresh ginger, 2cm in length, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp of brown sugar, raw
  • 3 tbsp of shrimp paste, ideally balichão
When the pork is tender and the sauce has reduced, taste for seasoning and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle over the garnishes and serve with the cooked Japanese rice

For a chef, having mentors like Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Ferran Adrià must be akin to taking music classes with Chopin and Brahms. Nuno Mendes' London restaurant demonstrates the qualities of ambition that most good protégés possess.

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