Slow-cooked Karnataka pork curry

Slow-cooked Karnataka pork curry

I Love India
Martin Poole

Karnataka has lots of delicious food, but this is one of those dishes that people outside the region hear about. Maybe this is because India has so few pork curries… or maybe it’s because it is that good. This dish comes from the cooler hills of Karnataka. The people of that area were forced to hunt for food and got a taste for wild boar. Soon, many locals started to farm their own pigs, to be sure they could have this local favourite whenever they wanted! In spite of all the spices, this isn’t an overtly spicy curry. I have added Kashmiri chilli powder more for colour than heat, so you can leave it out if you prefer.


Quantity Ingredient

For the curry

Quantity Ingredient
15g roughly chopped root ginger, (peeled weight)
7 large garlic cloves
1 tomato, quartered
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
15 curry leaves
2 medium-small onions, finely chopped
1-3 green chillies, stalks removed, pierced with a knife
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kashmiri chilli powder, (optional)
500g pork shoulder, cut into cubes, with some fat
31/2-4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
handful coriander leaves and stalks, to serve

For the spice blend

Quantity Ingredient
11/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
3 small cloves
5mm cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
10 black peppercorns
pinch brown mustard seeds


  1. Blend the ginger, garlic and tomato until fine, adding a little water to help the blades turn. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan. Add the mustard seeds and, once the popping calms down, add the curry leaves, onions and 1 green chilli; cook until really well browned. Add the blended paste, the turmeric, salt, cumin and chilli powder, if using, and cook well until all the liquid has reduced and the remaining masala releases oil, around 10–12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, dry-roast the spices for the spice blend for 40–50 seconds, or until lightly golden. Pour straight into a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.
  4. Add the pork to the masala in the pan and brown a little in the paste. Add 3 tsp of the spice blend and the vinegar. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer really slowly, stirring often and checking to see if you need to top up the water (if so, use boiling water from the kettle). Cook until the pork is really tender, anything from 1 to 2 hours; I’ve done it in both, and it really depends on the heat.
  5. Taste, adjust the seasoning, adding more of the spice blend if you like, stir in the coriander and serve hot with rice or Indian breads.
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