Burmese Pork Curry

Burmese Curry (Photo by jackol/flickr)

Serves 8-10.


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


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)