Sri Lankan Pork Belly Curry Recipe

1 hour 10 minutes


Roasted curry powder

  • 4 cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 1 tsp basmati rice
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 cloves


  • 500g of pork belly, diced into 30g chunks
  • 1 1/2 tsp chilli powder, toasted until dark but not burnt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 knob of ginger, 1 inch long, grated
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tsp chilli powder, toasted until dark but not burnt
  • 4 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp tamarind pulp, dissolved in water (or 1 tsp tamarind paste)
  • 1 lemongrass stick, bashed
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 4 inches long
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 1 pandan leaf, 4cm long

To garnish

  • 1 green chilli, finely sliced into rounds
  • 1 red onion, small, sliced into rings
  • 2 limes, juiced


The day before you plan to serve, make the roasted curry powder – this will leave you with more than you need for this recipe, but it can be stored in an airtight container. Toast all the ingredients in a dry frying pan for a few minutes until fragrant, then grind into a powder using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Store in an airtight container until needed
Place the pork in a bowl with a tablespoon of the roasted curry powder and the toasted chilli powder, turmeric, pepper and salt. Mix well and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight
To make the pink onion garnish, place the rings of red onion in a small bowl and cover with lime juice and a pinch of salt. Leave to pickle for at least a few hours (or ideally overnight) – they should turn pink
The next day, pour the vegetable oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the curry leaves, pandan and cinnamon stick and gently fry for 2 minutes. Add the onion and lemongrass, then fry for another 2 minutes
Add the green chillies, garlic and ginger and fry for 2 minutes until fragrant, then add the marinated pork and toss to combine. Continue cooking for 5 minutes
Add the tamarind, toasted chilli powder and another 2 tablespoons of the roasted curry powder, cook out for 1 minute, then pour in 125ml of water and lower the heat. Leave to simmer gently for 40 minutes
After this time, the pork should be soft and tender and the sauce should be quite dry, clinging to the meat. Add a little more water if it dries out too quickly or the pork needs a little longer to soften. Season to taste with salt
To serve, transfer the pork curry to a serving dish (discarding the pandan and lemongrass if desired), then garnish with the pink pickled onions and finely sliced green chilli