Pork Bhutuwa is a family favourite of ours and a tradition that stared before Sera and I met. When Sera was little and living in the village he was a bit of a free range naughty child who didn’t care for rules, however his is parents were traditional. Abba, dad, was Buddhist and a strict vegetarian, Amma, mum, on the other hand was Hindu with strong shamanistic beliefs, this meant that pork was very definitely off the menu. Luckily for Sera not everyone in the village was so strict and some families kept pigs, Sera had developed a taste for pork curry so when a pig was being killed he would sneak off to get a share. Retuning home wasn’t so easy, neither Sera nor the pork were allowed inside the house and there were regular scenes of chastisement from Amma. Eventually Sera was allowed to build a fire so he could cook and eat away from the house and now we have a restaurant, strange how things work out.
Serves 4 with a vegetable dish, a generous 2 without
450 g | 1 lb pork belly
60 ml | ¼ cup rapeseed or vegetable oil
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
½ tablespoon finely grated garlic
2 ½ teaspoons Kathmandu masala
1 teaspoon salt
60 ml | ¼ cup water
3-4 spring onions
Cut the pork belly into 2 cm | 1inch pieces
Peel and cut the onion in half lengthways from tip to root
Finely slice each half of the onion from tip to root end
Roughly chop the tomato
Peel and cut the spring onions into roughly 4 cm / 2” lengths
Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan or wok until it is shimmering. Fry the pork belly until it's nicely browned all over then add the onion, ginger and garlic to the pan. Fry until the onion becomes translucent. If it starts to brown a bit that's fine, add the Kathmandu masala and salt, cooking through until the spices start sticking to the bottom of the pan, roughly 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the water and stir to lift any stuck juices from the bottom of the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and continue to cook until the pork is cooked through. The pork will give off lots of juice but if not you will need to add an additional 60 ml / ¼ cup of water. Once the pork is cooked, remove the lid and turn the heat back up, allowing all the liquid to evaporate. The pork will sizzle and the juice will caramelise. Stir well and scrape the the pan to prevent it burning. As soon as you have difficulty scraping, add the tomato and continue to stir, allowing the tomato to melt. As it does it will lift the caramel. Add the spring onions and cook long enough for them to soften slightly. Check for salt, adjust to your taste and serve.
This is a lovely rich curry that goes well with fried rice, pilau rice or flatbreads, because of its richness a simple dal and a light vegetable dish are perfect.
As with most Nepalese curries this is a dry curry, if you prefer to have a gravy simply add 250ml / 1 cup of water with 2 tablespoons light soy sauce when you add the spring onions and stir well. You will need to adjust the seasoning to your taste.