This time of year I crave rich curries, savory stews, and creamy soups simmered over a low flame, and sprinkled with ground spice. Something that can be ladled into a beautiful ceramic bowl that's wide enough to rest on folded knees pulled up to just under the chin. My amma's black pork curry, as in Milk, Spice & Curry Leaves, with some toasted, buttered bread will do the trick.
Sri Lankan Black Pork Curry is a signature Sri Lankan dish, exceptional in flavour, depth of colour, and aroma. I hope you have the chance to enjoy this delicious delicacy--and a pretty ceramic dish with a lacy trim to ladle it into will only help!
1/4 cup unwashed, parboiled white rice (any type of rice)
1/4 cup scraped coconut or frozen grated coconut (thawed)
1 tsp ground black pepper or 5 peppercorns
1–11/4 lb boneless pork shoulder or roast with a fat cap
3–4 pieces dried goraka preserved in brine or the juice of 1 small lemon
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or sliced
11/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
6 curry leaves, ripped into small pieces
31/2 heaping tsp roasted curry powder
31/2 tsp paprika
2 heaping tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
11/2 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
Start by dry-roasting the rice and coconut. Set a stainless-steel pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the rice. When the grains are evenly roasted and browned, pour them onto a plate or into a bowl and set aside to cool.
Set the pan back over high heat. Add the coconut to the pan.
Using the back of a fork or spoon, lightly press the coconut into the pan to quicken the roasting. When the coconut is almost black (but not burnt) transfer it to a separate dish and set aside to cool.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind half of the roasted rice grains. Add the pepper (or whole peppercorns) and continue grinding until the rice looks like fine crumbs. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Pour the coconut into the mortar and pound it until it looks like fine coffee grounds. Set aside.
Cut the pork and its fat into 1-inch chunks and place them in a pot. Add the goraka (or lemon juice), onion, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, curry powder, paprika, cayenne, turmeric, and salt. Add enough cold water to just cover the meat mixture, set the pot over medium-high heat, and cover. Once it has reached a boil, turn down the heat to medium-low and let it cook, covered, for 45 minutes. Check occasionally to see if more salt is needed.
Add the ground rice and coconut mixture to the pork. Mix everything to combine, turn down the heat to low, partially cover, and let simmer for another 15 minutes.
Pictured above: roasted rice and coconut.
Recipe by Ruwanmali Samarakoon-Amunugama, from Milk, Spice and Curry Leaves, copyright © 2020 by Ruwanmali Samarakoon-Amunugama and TouchWood Editions.