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Burmese Pork Curry




Burmese Curry (Photo by jackol/flickr)

Burmese Curry (Photo by jackol/flickr)

Serves 8-10.

Ingredients

2 kg/4 lb boneless pork, not completely lean
4 medium onions, roughly chopped
20 cloves garlic
150 g/5 oz/1 cup peeled and roughly chopped ginger
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons chilli powder
185 ml/6 fl oz/3/4 cup peanut oil
3 tablespoons oriental sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Directions

Cut pork into 2.5 cm (1 in) cubes. In food processor or blender finely
chop onions, garlic and ginger. Turn into a strainer set over a bowl
and push with spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Pour this
liquid into a large saucepan, add the pork, salt, vinegar, chilli
powder and half the peanut oil. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer
over low heat for 11/2 hours or until pork is almost tender.

In another large pan with heavy base heat remaining peanut oil and the
sesame oil. Add the garlic, onion and ginger solids left in the
strainer. Add turmeric, stir and cook over low heat. Cover pan and
simmer the mixture, lifting lid frequently to stir, and scrape base of
pan with a wooden spoon. This initial frying takes at least 15 minutes.
If mixture fries too rapidly and begins to stick before the smell has
mellowed and the onions become transparent, add a small quantity of
water from time to time and stir well. When the water content of the
onions has evaporated and the ingredients turn a rich brown colour with
oil showing round the edge of the mass, the first stage of cooking, and
the most important one, is complete. Because of the large quantity it
takes almost 25 minutes to reach the right stage. Half way through
cooking the onion mixture, spoon off some of the oil that has risen to
the top of the pork mixture and add it to the onions.

When mixture is a reddish-brown add the contents of the first pan and
cook, uncovered, until the oil separates again and the liquid is almost
evaporated. Stir frequently during this stage to ensure it does not
stick and burn at base of pan. Serve with white rice and
accompaniments.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)

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Not only Burmese curries don't actually use curry powder, but also the usesage of chillie powder is only recent. Authentic Burmese curries use dried red chillies soaked and then pounded in a granite mortar and pestle into a paste. The flavour imparted is quite different from using chillie powder.