Sri Lankan Pork Curry and Rice & Curry Cookbook Review

by Spicie Foodie on April 9, 2012

*Disclosure: I have not been compensated in anyway for the following review, these are my own opinions.*

Sri Lankan curry powder; curry powder; roasted; spices; spice mix; recipe; peppercorns; fennel seeds; turmeric; coriander seed; methi seed; fenugreek; curry leaves; cumin; black mustard; brown mustard; seeds; cardamom; green; rice; cinnamon; Spicie Foodie

Last Friday I had the honor of sharing my interview with “Rice and Curry” cookbook author S.H. Fernando Jr. Today I want to share with you of his delicious recipes and my opinions on the cookbook.

Sri Lankan curry powder; curry powder; roasted; spices; spice mix; recipe; peppercorns; fennel seeds; turmeric; coriander seed; methi seed; fenugreek; curry leaves; cumin; black mustard; brown mustard; seeds; cardamom; green; rice; cinnamon; Spicie Foodie

I own a small collection of cookbooks, the majority of which only get used as reference. While I do enjoy flipping through and cooking from my cookbooks, very few get read cover to cover. Rice & Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking is one of the few I have read cover to cover. The cookbook’s byline says it all ” Sri Lankan Home Cooking”, that’s what this cookbook is all about. One of the things that immediately intrigued me about the cookbook is that the recipes all come from the author’s family. Recipes handed down, foods cooked every day by one large extended family in Sri Lanka. In my eyes that immediately equates excellent true and tried recipes.

Sri Lankan curry powder; curry powder; roasted; spices; spice mix; recipe; peppercorns; fennel seeds; turmeric; coriander seed; methi seed; fenugreek; curry leaves; cumin; black mustard; brown mustard; seeds; cardamom; green; rice; cinnamon; Spicie Foodie

I wasn’t patient enough to wait for a hard copy of Rice & Curry, instead I purchased the Kindle edition. I was instantly captivated with the vivid colors, stories, writing and recipes. Sri Lankan cuisine is one I know so little about, and of course one I’d never had the pleasure of tasting, I’m sure many of you can relate. As a matter of fact the author refers to this cuisine as  “one of the last culinary secrets of our time” I would have to agree with him. So little is know about it and yet this complex cuisine has so much to offer. After reading and drooling over the recipes and stories in  Rice & Curry I think Mr. Fernando makes a heck of an ambassador for Sri Lankan cooking.

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There are so many delicious recipes that it was a challenge picking one to share and a few to photograph for you. The first recipe I tried was Roasted Curry Powder, of course I opted for grinding my own curry spices. The smells were incredible, everything about preparing curry spices is wonderful. Once the Roasted Curry Powder was made I began planning our dinner. The dinner menu would be Yellow Rice (Kaha Bath), which not only looks pretty but tasted fantastic. On the side I served Spiced Potatoes (Ala Thel Dala), again these also tasted incredible. The main dish was Pork Curry (Ooroomas Curry) and that is the recipe I will be sharing wit you today. (I also made a pineapple chutney which was delicious but I forgot to photograph.)

Pork Curry (Ooroomas Curry)
recipe courtesy of Hippocrene Books, please do not print nor publish without prior written consent

The key to a good pork curry, according to the author’s Aunt Dora, is to cut the meat into thick chunks and leave all the fat on. “That is where the flavor is.” she says. Mr. Fernando adds, that the tamarind also adds a nice tangy note to the overall spiciness.

Makes 6 servings
1 tbsp tamarind pulp*
3 tbsp roasted curry powder (buy it here or make your own from the cookbook recipe)
2 lbs or 1 kl boneless pork
2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2-inch or 5 cm piece ginger, ground
2-inch or 5 cm piece cinnamon stick
2-inch or 5 cm piece stalk lemongrass
2 green chilies, slice
1 sprig curry leaves
1.5 cups or 375 ml water
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup or 125 ml coconut milk
1 tbsp tomato paste

*You may use tamarind concentrate instead of pulp, in which case use only about 1/2 tsp as it is strong.

1. Soak tamarind in a little warm water, strain and remove seeds and fiber. Slightly toast curry powder in a pan for 2-3 minutes.
2. Wash and cut pork into 1-inch or 2.5cm cubes. Place in a bowl with curry powder, cayenne powder and tamarind and marinate for 30 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a pan. When hot fry onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, lemongrass, green chilies and curry leaves for a few minutes.
4. Add marinated pork and stir-fry until browned. Slosh a little water in marinade bowl to release the remaining spice mixture and pour into pan. Add remaining water and salt and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until pork is tender, about 20-25 minutes.
6. Add coconut milk and tomato paste and simmer, uncovered until gravy is thick, about 15-20 minutes.

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To say that Rice & Curry is my current favorite cookbook is an understatement. There is so much to love about this cookbook, from the personal stories, Sri Lankan history, travel tips, spice tips and information, family recipes, to the sample menus suggestions for your Sri Lankan dinner party. The hard work and love that went into making Rice & Curry is evident in every page, it really is no wonder that it made The New York Time’s “Notable Cookbooks of 2011″ list. Simply put this cookbook is one everyone should have on their digital or wooden bookshelf.

Sri Lankan curry powder; curry powder; roasted; spices; spice mix; recipe; peppercorns; fennel seeds; turmeric; coriander seed; methi seed; fenugreek; curry leaves; cumin; black mustard; brown mustard; seeds; cardamom; green; rice; cinnamon; Spicie Foodie
“Sri Lankan cooking is poised to make a dramatic splash on the culinary horizon.” S.H. Fernando Jr. , I couldn’t agree more.

Purchase your copy of Rice & Curry  now
Rice and Curry

Check out S.H. Fernando’s own spice blends, called Skiz’s Original
Rice and Curry

in Asian,Cookbook,Curry,Pork,Recipe Reviews

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosa April 9, 2012 at 7:00 AM

A scrumptious curry! What lovely flavors. I know very little about This country’s cuisine…




2 Spicie Foodie April 9, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Hi Rosa,

Thanks, it was really delicious.


3 Nami | Just One Cookbook April 9, 2012 at 7:05 AM

I’ve missed the interview so I’m going to check after this, but this looks so delicious! I’ve never had Suri Lankan dish before, but I enjoy curry. Your photos are so gorgeous. Don’t know which one to pin… =)


4 Spicie Foodie April 9, 2012 at 8:10 AM

You should give it a try sometime Nami. It is really good and the depth of flavors is excellent. Thank you sweetie:)


5 Michelle April 9, 2012 at 7:58 AM

Thank you for sharing this recipe. :)


6 Spicie Foodie April 9, 2012 at 8:13 AM



7 Felicia April 9, 2012 at 8:43 AM

What an awesome-looking curry! I love Sri Lankan food — they have these really interesting breads and condiments as well as curries that are quite different from Indian or Thai ones. Too bad it’s so hard to find in most of North America — I’ll have to check out this cookbook!


8 Spicie Foodie April 9, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Hi Felicia,

Glad to hear you love Sri Lankan food. I haven’t made any of the breads yet. You should definitely check out the cookbook. Because even if there are spices you can’t find locally, you can order them online:)


9 muppy April 9, 2012 at 9:53 AM

i have a real love for Sri Lankan food, have tried cooking it often and live in a suburb where the ingredients are all accessible so you have my attention, the curry looks divine.


10 Spicie Foodie April 9, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Glad to hear that, maybe you’ll even buy the cookbook for some great new recipes to try:) Thanks!


11 Frank April 9, 2012 at 9:54 AM

I’ve never tried Sri Lankan food but now you’ve got me curious… I’m always game for a new culinary adventure!


12 Spicie Foodie April 9, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Hi Frank,

You should give it a try, I think you’d really like it:)


13 Ramona April 9, 2012 at 10:28 AM

You know this is right up my alley! Your photos are outstanding…. now I have no excuse when I say it’s hard to photograph curry. :) Well done!


14 Spicie Foodie April 9, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Thank you Ramona. Curry, stews and soups are really hard to photograph. Just keep shooting:)


15 Asmita April 9, 2012 at 10:45 AM

You have such a beautiful blog. I love this curry. I find the ingredients very similar to Indian food except I don’t use lemon grass in my curry even though I love the flavor.


16 Spicie Foodie April 9, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Thank you !


17 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts April 9, 2012 at 1:18 PM

The curry looks absolutely delicious! This sounds like a great cookbook. We love experimenting with different curries. Just wish I had better access to the ingredients!


18 Spicie Foodie April 9, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Hi Erin,

The cookbook is excellent, as was the recipe. Maybe you can order some online, I do:)


19 cooking rookie April 9, 2012 at 2:07 PM

this must be delicious! I have to try this one, will probably have to make a lot of substitutions because I don’t know where to get all the ingredients, but I bet it will still taste great! What can go wrong if you use coconut milk and lemongrass ;-) The photos are gorgeous, as usual, but that goes without saying :-)


20 Spicie Foodie April 9, 2012 at 3:17 PM

The curry and all the other foods we’ve tried have been excellent. I’m sure you can make it just as delicious with substitutes too. Thank you:)


21 Renee @ Tortillas and Honey April 9, 2012 at 6:50 PM

This looks so good! I must say that your photographs are absolutely beautiful. I’d love to be able to take photos like yours! And I’m in love with that red potholder/napkin!


22 Spicie Foodie April 10, 2012 at 8:20 AM

Thank you Renee! Keep working and you’ll meet your goals:) It took me a long time to get my photography like this and it’s an unending learning process.


23 Lea Ann April 9, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Absolutely beautiful photos. Really sets the mood. And thanks for the review.


24 Spicie Foodie April 10, 2012 at 8:20 AM

Thank you Lea Ann!


25 mycookinghut April 9, 2012 at 9:00 PM

Looks absolutely delicious!


26 Spicie Foodie April 10, 2012 at 8:21 AM

Thanks, it really was delicious.


27 Marsha @ The Harried Cook April 10, 2012 at 12:29 AM

I missed the interview, but I am so glad I did not miss this recipe!! Sounds SO delicious! I love curries made with pork… I love the flavors in here and I am bookmarking this one… thanks, Nancy!


28 Spicie Foodie April 10, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Hi Marsha, Glad you caught this then. Thank you, it was really delicious. The book is just wonderful so check it out too:)


29 anna April 10, 2012 at 1:27 AM

mmm do you think a vegetarian version of this dish would work? i’m off the pig for now, but this recipe looks so flavorful.


30 Spicie Foodie April 10, 2012 at 8:25 AM

I don’t see why not Anna. All the spices and flavors in this recipe would be great with veggies.


31 Suzanne April 10, 2012 at 4:27 AM

Nancy this food looks mouth watering good, with interesting and unique flavors, the cookbook sounds wonderful.


32 Spicie Foodie April 10, 2012 at 8:26 AM

It really is Suzanne. The cookbook is just full of amazing recipes like this one. Thanks!


33 Cooking Recipes April 10, 2012 at 5:16 AM

Beautiful pictures your providing.pork curry looks very colorful.as soon as possible i will defiantly make it.


34 Spicie Foodie April 10, 2012 at 8:26 AM



35 easyfoodsmith April 10, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Nothing beats freshly ground curry powder or garam masala. It elevates the flavours of a dish to a different level. The curry looks absolutely scrumptious and your clicks are beautiful as always :-)


36 Spicie Foodie April 10, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Hi Taruna,

So true, the difference is very noticeable. Thank you:)


37 Judy@Savoring Today April 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM

I’ve been on a curry bent ever since taking a class from a local chef — love the complexity of flavors. Your photos are stunning!


38 Spicie Foodie April 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM

There really is something so amazing about all the complex flavors and how well they come together in curry. We are curry addicts in this house, hehe. Thank you:)


39 Natalie April 10, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Nancy! Wow you photography left me speechless! Gorgeous work as always!


40 Spicie Foodie April 10, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Thank you Natalie:)


41 Lyndsey@TheTinySkillet April 11, 2012 at 2:22 PM

This looks like a wonderful curry, full of flavor, it looks delicious! I like to toast and blend my own spices too.


42 Magic of Spice April 17, 2012 at 2:33 AM

What stunning flavors in this dish…just beautiful!
Will have to check into getting the book :)


43 Melissa@EyesBigger April 19, 2012 at 2:29 PM

The book does sound amazing as does this dish. but your photos are just stunning. loving the dark moody feel myself lately. Such a nice change from the airy overexposed look that’s been so prevalent the last year or two.


44 Meghan@SporkMe June 4, 2012 at 12:30 AM

Oh my… I’ve just started getting into curries, I’m a bit weird about them (very love/hate), but had a home-made Sri Lankan curry the other week that blew my mind. I tried this out hoping it would taste the same (with chicken, and 20 minutes in a pressure cooker), and it was incredible. I took a stab at making the roasted curry powder and it was very easy and made a huge difference. 5 stars, this is going the book as my staple curry dish, next time with pork!


45 Spicie Foodie June 4, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Hi Meghan,

I’m so glad you tried Mr. Fernando’s recipe. But also so very impressed that you made the curry powder from scratch. Bravo!! You’ll love it with pork too. Thanks for stopping by and letting us know:)


46 Pam Maher July 8, 2012 at 7:58 PM

I was googling for a Sri Lankan curry and fortuitously landed on your blog. Your writing style and photography have captivated me, which encouraged me to purchase your beautiful cookbook! I can’t wait until it arrives, allowing me to share in your eclectic recipe collection. In the meantime, I’m going to prepare Mr Fernando’s Ooroomas Curry that you featured, above, throwing in some beautiful Asian egglplants (purchased at Farmer’s Mkt yesterday, hence the search for an interesting curry…) So happy to have found you!


47 Spicie Foodie July 9, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Hi Pam,
Welcome:) I know you’ll love the cookbook and this curry recipe. The hardest part will be to choose what to cook from the book first. Thank you and I hope to see you around:)


48 Abi September 5, 2012 at 10:44 PM

lovely photos, indeed Sri Lankan cuisine is unique. I’m a Sri Lankan food blogger. Nice to hear your opinion about my country food.


49 Spicie Foodie September 7, 2012 at 1:56 AM

Nice meet you Abi. I really love Sri Lankan food.


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