On a whim a few years ago I bought a three-author cookbook published in the UK with the glorious title Best-Ever Cooking of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia & the Philippines: Ingredients, Techniques, Traditions, & All the Popular Local Dishes. And they aren’t kidding. It’s an absolutely insane book: step-by-step photographs of every single dish (all 340 of them—how’d they do that?), no-holds-barred ingredients lists (terasi and belacan, milkfish and mutton, sour carambola greens), and extensive tips and notes on every page. This recipe was inspired by one for a spice paste–rubbed and leaf-wrapped whole roast duck (which I swear I’m going to try one of these days).
In a mini food processor or a good blender, combine the shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger, chiles, lime leaves, lemongrass, coconut, fish sauce, salt, and several grindings of black pepper. Pulse to make a very smooth paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Cut a piece of banana leaf to line the whole bottom of the pot and come up and over the long edges. Season the chops lightly with salt on both sides. Pat the shallot paste on both sides of each pork chop and arrange the chops like falling dominoes in the banana leaf–lined cooker. Fold the edges of the leaf over the top of the chops to enclose them. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
Open the banana leaf package and use tongs or a metal spatula to remove the chops to a carving board or serving platter. Serve one chop per person, or slice the meat off the bone to serve, spooning juices from the cooker over the meat. It’ll be messy, but delicious, either way. Put lime wedges on the table for people to squeeze over the pork.
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