MiMi Aye’s Mandalay: Recipes and Tales from a Burmese Kitchen is bringing the delights of home-style Burmese cooking to the UK, with keen cooks all over the country sharing their efforts.
One of the recipes we’ve already made a few times, and adore, is MiMi’s Classic Burmese Pork Curry, another surprisingly simple dish that is so full of flavour. I could eat this every day!
Last time we made this, we scaled the recipe up to ensure we had leftovers. Take our word for it, you’ll want leftovers too!
Classic Burmese Pork Curry (Wet Thar Hnat)
- 1 kg pork leg or shoulder, with some fat, diced into 2.5cm cubes
- 100 ml malt vinegar
- 4 medium onions, peeled
- 2 cm piece of ginger, peeled
- 4 tablespoons groundnut oil or other neutral-tasting oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground
- black pepper
Cook's Note: After you’ve added all the ingredients and brought them to the boil, you could transfer everything to a lidded casserole dish and place in an oven preheated to 160°C/140°C Fan/Gas Mark 3 for 1ó hours. This will give the same tender pork, but the sauce will be much thinner and there will be more of it.
This curry freezes very well and will keep frozen for up to a month.
Toss the pork thoroughly in the vinegar and then discard the vinegar. (This imparts a slight sourness and is traditionally thought to clean the pork.) Place the pork in a large saucepan and add enough water to just submerge. Cover the pan with a lid and bring to the boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to simmer, with the lid on, for 15 minutes.
Remove the pork and set to one side; pour the pork juices into a bowl and reserve. Do not wash the saucepan – you'll reuse it later.
Slice the onions into wedges. Pound the ginger into a rough pulp using a pestle and mortar. Add 2 tablespoons of water in the well of the mortar and stir to make ginger juice. You can also blitz the ginger with the water in a food processor but all you want is the juice, so you’ll need to strain it. Whichever method you choose, make sure to squeeze the pulp to get all the juices out and discard said pulp.
Heat the oil in the saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the pork cubes and toss for 4–5 minutes until browned all over. Add the onion wedges and ginger juice and stir-fry for another minute. Add the reserved pork juices, sugar, light and dark soy sauces and pepper, along with 500ml of water. Cover the pan with a lid and bring to the boil.
Now turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer (without lid) for 1.5 hours until the sauce is sticky and reduced.
When the time is up, the pork should be tender and fall apart if you poke it with a fork. Serve with lots of fluffy white rice and stir-fried greens on the side.
Do also check out MiMi’s recipes for Burmese Braised Beef Curry and Burmese Golden Pumpkin Curry. Then head over to read our full review of Mandalay and find out more about their author in our interview with MiMi Aye.
Mandalay: Recipes and Tales from a Burmese Kitchen by MiMi Aye is currently available on Amazon UK for £18.20 (RRP £26). Recipe and image published courtesy of publishers Bloomsbury Absolute. Photography by Cristian Barnett.