Pork Stew with Nutmeg – Semur Babi

This Pork Stew with Nutmeg sounds delicious. It needs 500 grams of pork with ‘a bit of fat’; the recipe states. This is not a babi ketjap. It tastes different because of the nutmeg and mace. Mace is part of the nutmeg fruit. It covers the nut like flower leaves. I can buy it as a leaf, but not today so I use powdered mace.

In Indonesian, this recipe is called semur babi. The word semur derives from the Dutch word ‘smoor’. That means something like braise or stew.

The whole house immediately smells like nutmeg; delicious. The spices smell strong and almost sweet.

This dish is enough for 3-4 people and is ready in 45 minutes.

Pork Stew (Semur Babi) II #137 from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 144.


  • 1/2 kg of pork (with a fat edge)
  • 1/4 liter of water


  • 4 tablespoons of coarsely sliced onions
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
  • piece of mace
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  1. Cut the meat into coarse slices (this time no tamarind is used).
  2. Bring the water to the boil with salt and all the spices, including the lemon juice.
  3. Allow the meat to be gently braised until the moisture has almost evaporated and the meat has softened.

Although this meat is not roasted, it gets a nice brown color because of a large amount of sweet soy sauce.

Pork Stew with Nutmeg - Semur Babi- Ingredients

I use super sweet soy sauce (kecap manis ABC) and I use about 1/4 teaspoon of mace powder for my 500 grams of shoulder pork chops. I think these pork chops are the best for these ‘semur’ (stew) recipes.

I cut the meat into coarser pieces than I would do for babi kecap. This pork stew needs some time to reduce, so bigger pieces of meat keep the meat moist and tender.

Pork Stew with Nutmeg - Semur Babi- broth

I bring 250 ml of water, the lemon juice, kecap, all the spices and the onions to the boil.

Pork Stew with Nutmeg - pork chops

Then I add the meat at room temperature. The meat does not have to be sauteed first. Just scoop it right in.

I now leave the lid off the pan and keep everything simmering on average heat. I stir regularly so that the moisture continues to evaporate well.

Pork Stew with Nutmeg - after 20 minutes of simmering

After about 20 minutes the moisture is already half evaporated and the meat is turning dark in color.

It will take almost 40 minutes of simmering before most of the moisture is gone. A delicious sweet, sticky sauce remains. The lemon juice ensures that everything stays deliciously tender.

This dish is a good one for freezing. The flavors will become even better. I always keep some in my freezer for unexpected guests 😉

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2 Responses

  1. Sophia says:

    Hi Pauline, I made Semur Babi for my Mum last week and I have to say it was one of the easiest and most delicious pork dishes ever. Thank you for sharing it with such brilliantly perfect step by step instructions which made the whole process a joy. I shall definitely make it again. I was wondering if it would work with beef too? Thank you for all these lovely recipes. I am enjoying reading and making them – it reminds me of my childhood with Oma and Opa. Am going to attempt Serundeng soon!! Sophia

    • Pauline Chavannes de Senerpont Domis says:

      This semur recipe is truly delicious! Happy to hear the instructions work great! Thanks for letting me know. XPauline

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