Assado de porco

Assado de porco

Roast lion of pork Goan style

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

There is many a recipe secret used by Goan mamas to make a signature dish, yet they are still based on the original Portuguese version introduced during their occupation. The Goans’ love for pork also stems back to the time of the Portuguese settlers. Whilst assado de porco generally refers to the loin, one can use rolled shoulder or, even, lean belly. If using belly, you will need two bellies as they are smaller, in which case, marinate individually and proceed as normal (it may need the longer cooking time to become tender). I do strongly recommend belly pork as it is fabulous and tasty yet highly underrated.



Quantity Ingredient
10 cm piece cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
5-6 cloves
4-5 large dried chillies, broken in pieces
10 cm piece fresh ginger
6-8 garlic cloves
3-4 small red onions, roughly chopped
2 longish green chillies
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
100ml fresh tamarind pulp
200ml palm vinegar
or 200ml cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sunflower or rapeseed oil
1 tablespoon muscovado sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2kg pork loin, shoulder or belly, rind removed, boned and rolled
8 waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
300-400g pumpkin, seeded, peeled, if liked, and cut into chunks, (optional)
3-4 small red onions, peeled and quartered, (optional)
3 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Break the cinnamon into small pieces. Add to a mortar along with the peppercorns and cloves and crush coarsely with a pestle (or use a small bowl with the end of a rolling pin). Gently toast this mixture in a dry frying pan over a low heat and add the red chillies. Toast, stirring, until fragrant and changing colour. Remove from the heat and tip into a small dish to cool.
  2. In a blender or small food processor, add the ginger, garlic, onion, green chillies, turmeric and the cooled spice blend, tamarind pulp, vinegar, half the oil, the sugar and salt and purée to a relatively fine paste.
  3. Unroll the pork and rub plenty of the masala well into the flesh and set it aside in the refrigerator to marinate for a few hours, if you have the time. Roll up and tie again.
  4. Mix the remaining masala with the potatoes (and pumpkin and onions, if using). Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place a large roasting tin onto the top of the cooker, add the remaining oil and tilt to coat the tin.
  5. Scrape the excess masala off the marinated pork into the marinated potatoes and brown the pork well on all sides.
  6. Keeping the pork in the centre of the tray spread the marinated potatoes all around and place in the oven. Roast for about 1 –2 hours until tender.
  7. When the pork is cooked remove separately and check the potatoes. Taste (they might need some seasoning), and add the fresh chopped coriander.
  8. Serve the pork sliced surrounded with the potatoes.
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