Pork belly and Squash Burmese – Nonya Hybrid Curry

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Adapted from this Burmese pork and pumpkin curry recipe, I added fresh lemongrass, substituted ground turmeric with fresh, and parcooked the squash (roasting) to avoid chopping raw veg, saving time and preserving my delicate mitts.

Fresh lemongrass and turmeric are way better than fresh, freeze whatever’s not used. If fresh isn’t available, substitute dried ground turmeric, but I’m not sure if dried lemongrass would work as it would be difficult to rehydrate successfully to grind to a paste.

Tamarind brings sourness, coconut milk richness, but both could also be left out (neither are in the original recipe). Tomato makes it a bit sweet and mellow.

Ingredients

250-300g/ 0.5lb pork belly, diced
1/2 large squash
1 tomato
2tbsp vegetable oil
1tbsp shrimp paste (optional)
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp tamarind paste (optional)
200ml coconut milk – canned, or 2 tbsp/35g santan powder + water, or 50g creamed coconut + water (made up to 200ml)

Spice paste
1 small onion
2-5 cloves garlic
4 fresh green chillis
1 inch/thumb size piece fresh ginger
1 stalk fresh lemongrass
1 inch/2cm fresh turmeric
2tbsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp chilli powder/ dried chillis (optional)

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Method

Roast the squash cut side down in a roasting pan with 2tbsp water (to stop it drying out) 20-30 mins 200C, until the squash is soft enough to cut into chunks but still firm so it won’t disintegrate in the curry.

Grind ingredients for spice paste in a food processor/pestle and mortar (the latter will take heaps more time and elbow grease). If you’re a massive wimp, deseed the chillis.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan, fry the spice paste (rempah) until fragrant (a few minutes). Then add the tomato and fry a few minutes longer.

rempah

Brown the meat, then add the coconut milk and rest of the ingredients.

Simmmer for about 45 minutes or more, don’t let it boil too high or the meat will get dry.

Serve with white rice +++++

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