As you can see from this picture below, this pork curry is quite dry and rich, the texture is similar to Malaysian Rendang without the rich coconut milk. It was very tasty indeed. I will definitely make it again.
For the paste:
About 300g onion or shallots or a mixture of two (I used both 1:1)
About 3 – 4 fat cloves of garlic
1-2 large fresh red chilli
About 10 -12 Thai large dried chillies or any other large dried medium hot chillies, if you don’t like it too spicy use less or use a heap dessertspoon of tomato paste
1 chunk of ginger (about walnut size)
2 pieces of fresh turmeric (about the size of pinky finger), if not available use 2 rounded tsp of ground turmeric
a bit of water for blending (optional)
3 stalks of lemongrass
1 chunk of wet (semi dried) tamarind pulp with seeds (about golf ball size), if using seedless use less, if using ready to use concentrate use about 3 – 4 tbsps unless it is a very thick paste then use about 2 tbsp.
about 1 kg pork (shoulder or butt)
about 1/3 cup cooking oil
about 2 tbsp fish sauce or more/less to your taste
about 1 - 2 tsp sugar to taste
Handful of chopped coriander/ cilantro
- Prepare the spice paste. Peel the onion/shallots, garlic and ginger. De-seed the fresh and dried chillies. Soak the dried chillies in warm water till softened. Then cut the spices into small chunks then put all (incl. ground turmeric/ tomato paste if that's what you are using) in a mini blender, liquidiser or food processor and blitz till smooth, if the blender is a bit struggling add some water and blitz again till you get a smooth paste like this.
- Cut the pork into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes.
- Soak the wet tamarind with about half cup of boiling water, wait till it has cooled down then squeeze with your fingers and press the pulp with a large spoon through a sieve. Discard the seeds. If you use ready to use concentrate, ignore this stage.
- Peel and remove the first woody layer of the lemon grass. Top and tail. Cut into half then bash or bruise the pieces with something heavy or a clever.
- Heat the wok or a large pan with the oil till hot, add in the spice paste and stir continuously for a minute or two on medium heat, then turn the heat right low and stir every now and again for about 15 minute (with the lid on ajar when you are not stirring because the paste may spit everywhere and you will get a very dirty hob), till the oil has beginning to split from the paste.
- Add in the pork and lemongrass, stir for a while then lid on and let it simmer gently for about 20 minutes with occasional stirring to prevent the bottom sticking. Then pour in the tamarind juice, stir and lid back on again. Continue stirring now and again (with lid on when not stirring) till the pork is tender and sauce has dried. Cooking time is around 1 hour. The sauce should be quite thick and the oil splitting from the paste. Add enough fish sauce and sugar to taste and stir in coriander.
- Serve with plain rice.