How to make a Sri Lankan black pork curry

How to make a Sri Lankan black pork curry

This is absolutely one of my favourite curries. It’s a typical Sri Lankan recipe for a pork curry yet you probably won’t find it in restaurants. This is a curry for the home. And it’s made in my home, a lot. It takes a bit of effort, but a Sri Lankan black pork curry with well worth the undertaking.

I like to make my version of a Sri Lankan black pork curry using cuts of pork belly. It’s a cheap cut of meat, but seriously scrumptious. And yes, I know it’s fatty and rich, but it’s so damn delicious and perfect for this curry.

A Sri Lankan black pork curry bursts with flavour

Sri Lankan black pork curry bursts with flavour. And in this Sri Lankan recipe, this is down to the freshly made curry powder – dry roasted and hand ground coriander, cumin, fennel and mustard seeds and turmeric.

A Sri Lankan black pork curry has a complex flavour with the spices popping on your tongue. And once you make a Sri Lankan black pork curry, the aroma is going to laze about in your kitchen for a few days. Welcome to Sri Lankan cooking!

Don’t be put off by the so-called blackness of this curry. A Sri Lankan black pork curry is in actual fact, more the colour of burnt sugar.

What makes this curry is the coconut and tamarind sauce, cooked down until it is a deliciously thick and rich consistency clinging on to the meltingly soft, morsels of pork.

Serving suggestion for your Sri Lankan black pork curry

I like to serve a Sri Lankan black pork curry with sides of kale mallung, a South Indian dhal, and basmati rice. Pretty much makes for a perfect life!

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Sri Lankan black pork curry bursts with flavour

How to make a Sri Lankan black pork curry

  • Author: Tooting Mama
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 75 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 people 1x
  • Category: Main Dish


  • 1 kg pork belly (without skin)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 cms cinnamon stick
  • 20 curry leaves
  • 2 fresh green chillis (sliced lengthways and deseeded)
  • 2 yellow onions (chopped)
  • 2 cms fresh ginger (finely chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 100 mls tamarind water
  • 200 mls coconut milk
  • 300 mls water


  1. slice the pork belly into 1cm pieces.
  2. Heat the oil in a large solid bottom saucepan or cast iron casserole dish.
  3. Start to brown the pork. You’ll need to do this in batches and set aside.
  4. Take the saucepan or casserole dish of the heat. Don’t discard the oil or meat juices, you’ll use this later.
  5. Now make the curry powder. In a small frying pan add the coriander, cumin, mustard and fennel seeds and ground turmeric.
  6. Gently heat the pan, and wait for the seeds to start popping and start to brown.
  7. Pour the seeds into a pestle and mortar crush the spices into a fine powder and set aside.
  8. Re-heat the oil in the saucepan or casserole dish.
  9. Add the cloves, cardamon, cinnamon, curry leaves and chilli and fry for two minutes.
  10. Add the onions, stir and allow them to gently brown.
  11. Now add the garlic and ginger, and let them cook for another two minutes. Keep the heat low so the ingredients and spices don’t burn.
  12. Add your freshly made curry powder followed by the pork, stir until all the pork is coated in freshly ground spices.
  13. Pour in the tamerind water, followed by the coconut milk and water. Mix thoroughly.
  14. Raise the heat a little, with the lid cover the saucepan or casserole dish and cook for an hour.
  15. Keep checking the curry, stirring occasionally. Let the sauce reduce. If the sauce starts to dry out, turn down heat and add a little water.

    Cook until you have a thick sauce, the colour of burnt sugar, with a richly spiced and deeply delicious consistency.

  16. Dish up immediately with rice and a selection of sides.


I make this curry in a well used and truly beloved Le Creuset high sided casserole dish – this works fine. Otherwise, a deep, solid bottomed saucepan is just as good.

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