In Goa, once an overseas province of Portugal, there are many dishes influenced by Portuguese originals. The Goan version of pulled pork – so named because the meat is so tender when cooked that you can literally pull it apart – is a meal for times of celebration, and this version makes an interesting, Indian-inspired alternative to a traditional Sunday roast. Serve it in lettuce cups.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (48 votes)


  • 2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) rolled pork loin or shoulder or collar
  • 50 ml (2 fl oz) vegetable or rapeseed oil
  • baby gem lettuce leaves, cleaned and well drained, to serve
  • 2¼ tbsp fresh coriander, to garnish

Masala marinade

  • 1 tbsp broken pieces cassia bark or cinnamon
  • 15 cloves
  • 2 large dried red chillies
  • 5 cm (2 in) piece fresh root ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 small red onions, coarsely cut
  • 1 longish fresh green chilli
  • ½ tsp (heaped) turmeric
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) palm vinegar (if not available use cider vinegar)
  • ⅓ tbsp brown sugar
  • 25 ml (1 fl oz) sunflower or rapeseed oil
  • ⅓ tbsp salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 3 hours 

First make the masala marinade. With a pestle and mortar, coarsely crush together the cassia bark or cinnamon and cloves. Gently toast this mixture in a dry frying pan over a low heat until a spicy fragrance emanates from the pan. Tear the red chillies into pieces and add to the pan. Continue to dry-fry the mixture for a short while but do not burn. Set aside to cool.

Put the cooled spice mix in a blender. Add all of the remaining masala ingredients and blend the mixture to a relatively fine paste. Taste and adjust seasoning if you like.

Rub the masala all over the pork, and place the meat in a dish in which it fits snugly. Set aside any remaining masala. Cover the meat and set aside in the refrigerator, if possible for a few hours.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Pour the oil into a roasting tin and heat on the hob over a medium heat. Scrape any excess masala from the marinated pork, place the pork in the roasting tin and brown well on all sides. Transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven heat to minimum. (You can now pour a few tablespoons of marinade over the pork for extra flavour. Any leftover marinade can be set aside to use for another dish.) Cover the pork tightly with aluminium foil, well tucked in so that the pork steams in the tin and the meat literally falls off when cooked. Cook for a further 3–3½ hours if using a rolled joint; if using smaller pieces or individual chops, adjust your cooking time accordingly.

Remove the pork from the oven and shred using two forks.

To serve, put some pork on top of a lettuce leaf. Top with some coleslaw (if using) or some coriander.


Recipe from The Incredible Spice Men by Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh (BBC Books, $49.99, hbk, available here)


View all the recipes from The Incredible Spice Men.