I love this easy curry recipe because it is authentic and uses mainly ingredients that you might have in your spice collection already. Toasting the spices gives the curry a deep flavour and colour and the tamarind gives it a nice sour taste. The cubes of pork braise in the liquid and become tender and juicy.
I’m highlighting this recipe from a food blogger in Mumbai, India. I think it is so cool that I have made some great contacts from around the world, all through the love of good food. We all tend to be so similar, as well. Its fascinating to notice that we are all just the same people: families, friends, workers with similar interests and hobbies, just from different cultural backgrounds. So why oh why are we all bombing each other again??
Payal Bhuptani’s food blog is called Don’t Give a Fork (love her already) and she does corporate business for an ice cream company by day. By night, she is madly in love with her husband, whom she gets great joy out of cooking for. And they love to travel together to experience new adventures and feast on the world’s great cuisines. This is truly a girl after my own heart. There is no better way to experience new cultures than through food. And if you don’t have the time/money to travel you can learn so much about a place and culture right from your own dinner table. Payal and I share this passion for trying world cuisines.
I’m loving learning the art of curries from Payal. I’ve already tried her wonderful Andhra Chicken Curry and now I’ve decided to try this Sri Lankan Black Pork Curry. So far both these have been pretty easy curry recipes even though they are authentic and have rich, deep masalas (sauces). What is fascinating to me are the layers of flavour building – not just throwing in some spices and a can of tomatoes which I might have previously done. First, the Sri Lankan Black Curry Powder is made, by toasting all the spices in a hot pan until they are dark in colour and then grinding them. This spice mix also has white rice, which is toasted in the pan, which I’d never heard of. I can’t wait to see how this turns out!
The spices areground down in a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder) and added to the pork along with some tamarind paste. I used neck of pork (also called scotch fillet), which has a little fat on it to help with the slow cooking process. You wouldn’t want to use pork loin as it has no fat. Pork belly seemed too fatty for me, but could also work. Pork shoulder is another good choice.
After marinating for 8 hrs – overnight, the pork is added to a hot pan which has had some onions and garlic and ginger paste cooking until soft. The pork cooks for an hour and 15 minutes with some water. So easy!
Lastly, the tempered curry leaves are made. This is called the ‘tadka’. I love the flavour of curry leaves! So fragrant and nice to have the touches of green. This curry also has the addition of green chillies at the end.
This curry has a delicious tangy taste from the tamarind and the pork cubes are soft and tender. It’s hard to believe that just water, pork and spices make such a rich and dark gravy. That is why I would consider this an easy curry recipe – I know you need curry leaves and tamarind which is not usually on hand for western cooks but the actual pork and gravy is pretty simple, right? If you can’t find curry leaves, then this recipe is still worth it, just omit that last step or substitute cilantro (coriander) or green onion tops. And if you don’t have tamarind paste, substitute with vinegar.
This would be perfect served with this Sri Lankan Yellow Rice, also from Don’t Give a Fork.
- 2 tbsp raw white rice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 3 tbsp coriander seed
- ½ tsp cloves
- 6 cardamom seeds
- 1 tbsp fennel seed
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste/puree
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 thumb sized piece ginger
- 2 white onions, chopped
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup water
- 700g/1.5 lb pork neck or shoulder, cubed
- 2 tbsp oil or ghee
- 2 green chillies, roughly chopped
- 10-15 curry leaves
- Heat a frying pan to medium hot. Add the rice first and let get browned for about 5 minutes, then the cinnamon stick for another 2 minutes. Add the coriander seeds and let them turn brown, another 3-5 minutes, then add the fennel, cloves, cardamom, and cumin - toast for another couple of minutes then add the mustard seeds. When they pop, take off the heat add the black peppercorns and allow to cool a little. Do the spices one by one in that order to avoid burning.
- Grind the spices in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and add to the pork. Make a paste from the ginger and garlic and add, along with the tamarind paste, vinegar and salt. Stir well and let marinade in the fridge for 8 hrs-overnight.
- Add to a large pot over medium heat the ghee/oil and onions. Saute until translucent.
- Add the pork, sugar and water and bring to a low boil. turn down to a simmer and cover. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Take the cover off and cook down until some water evaporated (if need to).
- In a separate pan, heat a little oil until hot and fry the chilies and curry leaves. When they stop crackling, pour this over the pork as a garnish.
- Serve with rice or roti bread.
-If you are sensitive to chillies, take out the seeds.
Note: I have changed some of the original recipe a little to fit in with the western palette, namely reduce the sour taste (original recipe called for 4 Tbsp vinegar in marinade) , fewer cloves and one fewer chili for us western wimps!