This is my favourite Burmese tamarind pork recipe, robust in flavour and the meat melts in the mouth. I usually cook a large pot of this in the hope that it could be eaten over a few days, as the repeated reheating improves the flavour. However in our house, it rarely lasts more than two servings!
50g tamarind pulp
250ml hot water
2 large onions, quartered
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 whole dried chillies, soaked in hot water
120ml peanut oil
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon shrimp paste
700g pork, cut into 3cm chunks
Prepare the tamarind first. Add the hot water to the tamarind and soak for a few minutes. Use a fork to mash up the pulp and strain through a sieve to remove any fibres or stones.
Using a pestle and mortar, pound the onions, garlic and dried chillies until they resemble a rough paste. Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onion paste for 15-20 minutes. When it has caramelised and turned reddish brown, add the turmeric and shrimp paste. Use a wooden spoon to break up the shrimp paste and stir through the mixture.
Add the pork and cook over a moderate heat until any liquid that has come out of the pork has evaporated. Keep stirring to avoid burning the onions. Pour in the tamarind liquid and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes.
Check at regular intervals to make sure the gravy has not dried out. Add a little more water if necessary. Check the pork, it should fall apart easily. Season with a little salt if you wish.
cooking time: 60-80 mins