600g/1lb 5oz uncooked short-grain white rice, plus 60g/2¼oz boiled and chilled short-grain white rice
115ml/3¾fl oz coconut milk
75g/2¾oz fresh coconut, grated
1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
For the black pork curry
500g/1lb 2oz pork belly, skin off, fat trimmed to no more than 1cm/½in and cut into 5cm/2in pieces
1¼ tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1½ tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
2 tbsp vegetable oil
5cm/2in cinnamon stick
5 green cardamom pods
8–12 curry leaves
5cm/2in piece pandan leaf
5cm/2in piece lemongrass
2 tbsp, fried onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced fresh root ginger
2 tbsp roasted curry powder (see above)
2 green chilies, halved lengthways
250ml/9fl oz chicken stock
50ml/2fl oz coconut milk
2 tbsp tamarind
To make the roasted curry powder, heat a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Dry fry the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon in the dry pan, stirring frequently for 2–3 minutes until fragrant but not burning. Add the rice and continue cooking for 12–14 minutes until nutty and light brown.
Toast the remaining ingredients in a separate dry saucepan for 12–14 minutes, stirring occasionally until the leaves are dry and brittle. Leave to cool completely before grinding to a fine powder in a blender or spice grinder.
Pass through a strainer and grind any remaining large pieces. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
To make the hoppers, wash the uncooked rice in cold water five or six times, or until the water runs clear. Cover the rice with cold water and leave to soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Drain the rice and place in a blender with the boiled rice, coconut milk, grated coconut and approximately 455–500ml/16–18fl oz warm water. Blend until the mixture is the consistency of thick cake batter.
In a separate bowl, combine the yeast and sugar with 2 tablespoons tepid water. Once dissolved, add to the hopper batter and mix well. Cover and leave to ferment for 6–7 hours in a warm place until the batter becomes frothy and has a slightly sweet aroma.
When ready to cook, preheat a hopper pan with the lid on over a medium heat without oil.
Add the salt to the batter and mix well, then whisk in enough water to dilute the mixture to a thick custard consistency. Once the pan is hot, pour a ladleful of the hopper batter on one side of the pan and gently swirl once to cover all of the edges. Allow any excess batter to pool in the base of the pan.
Place the lid on the pan and cook for 2–3 minutes until the edges are slightly brown and beginning to come away from the pan. Carefully remove the hopper from the pan with a palette knife and slide onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
Meanwhile, to make the black pork curry, combine the pork with ½ tablespoon chilli powder, the black pepper and ½ teaspoon salt in roasting tray and cook for 20 minutes until browned, to render the fat.
Heat the oil in a deep heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. After 30 seconds, add the curry leaves, pandan leaf, lemongrass, onion, garlic and ginger.
Add the remaining chilli powder, remaining salt and the roasted curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Add a splash of water to get the charred bits off the pan and stir well. Add the cooked pork and coat well in the spices, then pour in just enough water to cover the meat and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for approximately 30–40 minutes, or until the meat is tender.
This is traditionally a dry curry but if you prefer a little bit of sauce, add some water in the final stage of cooking and season with salt and pepper accordingly. Stir in the green chillies, coconut milk, tamarid paste and cook for a final 2–5 minutes.
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