Pork curry with green chillies and tamarind

Preparation time
less than 30 mins

Cooking time
30 mins to 1 hour

Serves 6-8

This is a Christian pork dish from Kerala, which to me is typical of the cookery of southern India in that, even though it’s a meat dish, it’s still light, fresh and acidic. The fattiness of pork is cut through by finishing the dish with a tamarind paste, sliced green chillies and garlic, and it’s normal to serve a sliced, pickled onion salad with it as well.

By Rick Stein

From Rick Stein's India


For the curry

  • 6 large banana shallots, sliced
  • 20 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6cm/2½in ginger, finely chopped
  • 6 green chillies, roughly chopped, with or without seeds according to preference
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 4cm/1½in piece cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1kg/2lb 4oz boneless pork shoulder or chops, cut into 4cm/1½in chunks
  • 1 tsp salt

To finish

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 75ml/2½fl oz tamarind liquid (see Top recipe tip below)
  • 3 green chillies, thinly sliced lengthways, without seeds
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Recipe tips


  1. Put the shallots, garlic, ginger and chillies into a mini food processor with a splash of water and blend to a rough paste.

  2. Fry the mustard seeds, cumin, cloves, cinnamon stick and peppercorns in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a minute until toasted and aromatic. Add the turmeric and fry for another 20 seconds. Cool, then grind to a coarse powder.

  3. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan or karahi over a medium-high heat. Add the pork, in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding, and fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned.

  4. With all the pork in the pan, add the shallot, garlic, ginger and chilli paste, the ground spices and salt, and fry for a further five minutes, adding a splash of water if the paste starts to stick. Pour over enough water to just cover, turn the heat down to low, put a lid on and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender.

  5. To finish, fry the coriander seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a minute, or until toasted, then grind to a powder. Add the tamarind liquid, green chillies and garlic to the pork and cook for a further minute, then stir in the ground coriander. Serve.

Recipe Tips

To make tamarind liquid, take 60g/2¼oz tamarind pulp and put it in a bowl with 120ml/4fl oz just-boiled water. Leave to soak for 15 minutes, then work the paste with your fingers until it has broken down and the seeds have been released. Strain the slightly syrupy mixture through a fine sieve, rubbing it well against the sides of the sieve to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the fibrous material and seeds left behind. The liquid is ready to use and will keep in the fridge for 24 hours.

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