April 11, 2007

Curry From the Caribbean

Long before I was making Indian or Thai curries, I often made this rich pork curry from the Caribbean. Colombo is a Creole curry from Martinique and Guadeloupe. Its origins lie with the Sri Lankans, who were taken to the French West Indies to work on the sugar plantations and brought curry powder with them. On the islands, "Colombo'' is now a general term for a curried meat or seafood stew.

This pork Colombo curry is another one of my all time favorite recipes. The pork is mouth-wateringly tender and the sauce is tangy and intense. As the pork browns, the sugar caramelizes, creating a harmony between the sugar and the spice that is truly unforgettable. The sweet potato almost completely falls apart during cooking, thickening what at first seems to be a large quantity of chicken stock. Madras curry powder may be substituted if you don't want to make your own poudre de Colombo. (recipe below)
When I asked my husband what word he would use to describe this dish he replied, "sublime.'' I think that says it all.

Pork Colombo
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons good quality curry powder, preferably Colombo curry powder (recipe below)
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

  1. Combine the pork, lime juice and garlic in a bowl and let marinate for an hour.
  2. Mix the sugar, allspice and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Remove the pork from the marinade, letting the excess drip off and mix it with the sugar and spice mixture.
  4. Heat the oil in a big, heavy pot over medium-high heat. In small batches, brown the pork then remove it to a bowl.
  5. Add the onions to the pot and cook until soft, stirring often to make sure they don't stick, about 10 minutes. If the onions begin to stick, add a couple of tablespoons of chicken stock.
  6. Sprinkle the curry powder over the onions and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  7. Put the pork and any juices in the bottom of the bowl back in the pot along with the carrots, green pepper, sweet potato, bay leaves, thyme and chicken stock.
  8. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat so the liquid is simmering, partially cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  9. Uncover, raise the heat to medium and simmer another 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pork is really tender.
  10. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs, if using fresh thyme.
  11. Serve with lots of cooked white rice.
  12. Serves 6-8

Poudre de Colombo
  1. Toast 1/4 cup uncooked white rice in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking frequently, until light brown, about 5 minutes. Remove and cool.
  2. In the same skillet, toast 1/4 cup cumin seeds, 1/4 cup coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds, 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds and 1 teaspoon whole cloves until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Cool the spices, combine with the toasted rice, and grind to a fine powder.
  4. Stir in 2 teaspoons turmeric.
  5. Makes about 1 cup.
Stored in an airtight container, the powder will keep for several months.

Here is another good Colombo recipe from Food and Wine magazine that I've made. Pin It


mpabner said...

This sounds really good. I need to pick up some fenugreek, but I have everything else to make the curry powder. I may make some this weekend.
Not to be a smart alek, however, what goes into the oven?

Also, a good curried goat is delicious as well. Another great carribean dish.

Jennifer said...

"what goes into the oven?"
why do you ask? Was there something in this recipe that was supposed to go into the oven?

mpabner said...

Step number 2 says to preheat the oven. I was wondering what went into it.

mpabner said...

I decided to make this for dinner this evening! I will let you know how it turns out.

Jennifer said...

oh my! oops! I was working on a couple of posts at the same time and I made a mistake. Thanks for pointing it out! I didn't even notice!
Hope you enjoy the recipe.

mpabner said...

No problem. I have a BAD habit of leaving the oven on after I am finished cooking something. I would hate to get the grief that I normally get for that and then have not even needed the oven to begin with! Have a good evening!

mpabner said...

It was very delicious! It makes ALOT though. I have enough for lunch today and tomorrow. Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer said...

I'm glad you liked it and yes, it makes a big pot full of curry!
Thanks for stopping by to say hi and letting me know that you liked it!

tinyskillet said...

It does look good! I have all the ingredients to make the curry powder too. I am going to try it. Thanks!

Jennifer said...

Please let me know what you think. It is one of our favorites!