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Kerala Pork Fry

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Kerala Pork Fry is a dish that I first made when I found a bag of diced pork in the freezer and was wondering what to do with it. I had a look through my books and at a few recipes on the web and this looked good.

Kerala is on the Southwest coast of India South of Goa and is one of the places visited by the Portuguese in the late 15th century. The Portuguese took with them Christianity, chilli peppers and a whole load of pork dishes (including vindaloo). This Kerala pork fry dish is known locally as Panni Ularthiyathu, which simply means sautéed pork, and is a favourite in Kerala particularly at Christmas time.

I found quite a few recipes and as usual I have tried this a few times, combined various ideas and this is my version with a few options.

Basic Ingredients

1lb (450g) Pork
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1" (2.5cm) root ginger
3 plum tomatoes (or 200g tinned tomatoes)
A handful of coconut slices
Some curry leaves
Juice of 1 lime
Oil for cooking

1 teaspoon coriander seeds
Seeds from 3 cardamoms
teaspoon turmeric
teaspoon black peppercorns
inch (1cm) stick cinnamon
teaspoon fennel seeds
3 cloves

Notes on Ingredients

Pork. For this kerala pork fry dish the pork should not be too lean, some recipes suggest belly pork even, but I find this a bit too fatty.

Tomatoes. These are optional and I have seen recipes both with and without. It is supposed to be quite a dry dish without much liquid, personally I prefer a little liquid so I use tomatoes.

Chilli. I like a single scotch bonnet in this - quite hot but not too painful, use more or less (or milder chillis) as you require.

Coconut. Use desiccated coconut if you can't get slices.

Oil. I use coconut oil which is really good in this. Use ghee, mustard oil or peanut oil for preference.

Basic Method

Dice the pork into meaty cubes.
Peel and thinly slice the onion.
Peel and chop the garlic.
Peel and finely dice the ginger.
Chop up the chilli.
Heat a dry frying pan and roast the coriander, fennel, peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon.
Grind the spices together with the cardamom seeds .

Heat up a pan with just a touch of oil.
Put in the pork, turmeric, chilli, lime juice and spice mix, stir to cover and seal the meat.
Turn the heat down after just a minute and then cover with a lid and fry gently for about 10-15 minutes.
While the meat is frying, prepare the tomatoes.
If using plum tomatoes the put in boiling water for about 30 seconds to loosen the skin, put in cold water.
Peel and chop the tomatoes (to be honest I use tinned tomatoes - it's just easier).
Take the meat out of the pan and set aside in a bowl.
Heat the pan again - there should be sufficient oil but you may add a little more if you think necessary.
Put in the onions, garlic and ginger and fry stirring all the time.
When the onions have started to soften add the coconut and fry some more.
Add the tomatoes and reduce the heat to medium.
Fry until the liquid had reduced somewhat and the tomatoes are well mashed up.
Add the pork and stir into the onions.
Add the curry leaves and stir in.

Notes on Method

Some Kerala pork fry recipes suggest a pressure cooker for cooking the pork. This is a little quicker (not much) and stops the meat from drying out as it fries.

I usually put the garlic and ginger through a garlic press, but you can chop or blend if you like.

I usually eat Kerala pork fry with aromatic rice some pickle and for a side dish I have tried masoor daal or okra with yoghurt.

The amount suggested will feed 3-4 with just rice - more if you cook other side dishes.

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