This is an adaptation from a Sri Lankan Red Pork curry in The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon. I have used a different cut of pork – the shoulder instead of the belly. This makes the curry a bit leaner. When I cook, I double the recipe and then portion the curry into plastic containers, label and freeze. If you have the luxury of a large or chest freezer, this is a great way to have tasty meals during the working week that don’t create too many dishes- just pull out of the freezer and heat on the stove top with some rice for a substantial working week dinner, or quick lunch. But I have written up a standard recipe that will feed 6-8 as a side with other curries.
There is nothing more satisfying than cooking and enjoying a curry you have made from scratch. So make yourself proud and try one of these 3 curries out, or make them all, and sample together. When you make it yourself not only do you get the satisfaction, it is also less greasy, and there is a better liquid to meat ratio. And depending on how good your local curry takeout is, there can also be less fatty meat and runny liquid.
Although the recipe may seem involved, I do like to include details and visuals of steps in my writing and as a cook. I find it makes a recipe easier to follow and understand.
red pork curry
1 kg boneless pork shoulder
2 cups of boiling water (may not use it all)
10 whole dried chillies (use less if sensitive to chilli)
1/3 cup tamarind water (made from 50g tamarind pulp)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 medium onion. Roughly chopped.
4 cloves of garlic (throw in 1-2 extra if they are on the small side). Roughly chopped.
15 g of peeled ginger (don’t bother peeling if a young ginger – skin will look almost translucent). Roughly chopped.
1 cinnamon stick. Halved lengthways.
1 stem of lemongrass (2 if on the small side)
10 curry leaves
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
200 ml coconut milk
1 tbs ghee (25 gm of salted butter melted will make about this much ghee) or 1 tbs oil
1 small onion. Finely sliced.
Juice of ½ lemon (equiv. to 2 tbs lemon juice)
Cut the pork into 5cm pieces (leaving the fat on) and put into a medium saucepan.
making the curry paste:
Soak the dry chillies in ¾ of boiling water for 10 minutes.
To create the tamarind water, soak the tamarind pulp in enough boiling water to cover it. It will start to dissolve. Can mix with a spoon every now and then to encourage the dissolving process. Strain into a jug. Use a spoon to press down on the pulp to get more liquid from it. More water may be needed. This can be added to pulp after or as it is strained to make it a sauce like consistency.
Put chillies and soaking water, turmeric and roughly chopped onion, garlic and ginger into an electric blender.
Blend until smooth. Stop and wipe sides down with a spatula every so often so that all ingredients are incorporated.
Pour the curry paste over the pork in the saucepan. Add cinnamon and strained tamarind water.
Add salt and half the given amount of: lemongrass*, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds. The rest of these 3 ingredients will be used later.
*The lemongrass needs to be topped and tailed. Bruise the bottom with a pestle or back of a knife.
Bring to the boil, and then turn the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the pork is tender. This will take about 1hr and 30 minutes. Stir the pork every so often so it doesn’t stick and remove the lid if it is starting too look too liquid-y.
Add coconut milk and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile make the ghee.
making the ghee:
In a small pot, melt the butter on low. This will create the ghee. When the butter is melted it will split. The ghee is the top layer. As you pour off (next step) only add the top yellow liquid that is clear – the ghee.
Add the ghee (or oil if using instead) to another pan. Heat and add the sliced onion and remaining lemongrass (tip and tail and bruise the bottom with a pestle or back of a knife), curry leaves and fenugreek seeds. Fry on med-high heat.
When onions are golden brown turn off their heat. Add this and the lemon juice to the pork mixture. Simmer, uncovered, on medium heat for 10 more minutes. Stir every 10-15 minutes so that it doesn’t stick.
Can adjust the heat higher with the lid off if the curry is looking too liquid-y.
Cook until the pork is tender, but not falling apart. About 1 hr and 30 minutes.
Taste for salt, add more if necessary.
Serve with rice (I have been using wholemeal basmati), mango chutney, kasundi and/or lemon pickle, natural yoghurt and chopped coriander leaves. Enjoy the curry on its own, with the Yellow Cauliflower curry and/or the Lamb Roghan Josh.