The Sri Lankan Umami-Part 2

Roasted curry seasoning for Black Pork Curry

Its Summer! Hot days are here with abundance of greenery outdoor cooking, grilling and barbeques. It is time for adding new recipes to your grilling and barbeque recipe log. Its time for me to share my second part of seasoning mix series which can double as a marinade for Pork, Tuna, Mackerel will give you most rewarding result.

Every time, we make black pork curry (Kalu pork curry), Tuna ambul Thiyal (Tuna Balti) we use dry roasted spice blend that is intense and highly aromatic, it enhances the flavor of coated meat or fish to the next level. Time to time, I make a big batch of black curry seasoning mix and marinade Pork chops or Tuna stakes and make a big batch of Ambul Thiyal for the freezer.  What I know by years of making ambul thiyal is it gets better and better with keeping even in the freezer.

To me, Ambul thiyal completes rice and curry combination meal, with lentil curry, green salad, coconut sambol. But that is not at all, it is great on its own, with just a side vegetable of your choice and mashed potatoes, or in the subs and Tacos.

To keep it more interesting for my family, I experimented with Ambul thiyal seasoning base with Pork chops, Pork loin, and in array of different seafood combinations. I wanted to find out the perfect combination of marinade and the cooking method and I loved the results with grilling, roasting with pork. that is what I am excited to share with you today.

Preparation of the seasoning base is relatively easy with adding ingredients together and blending it. Once blended it stays good in the fridge for up to two weeks and freezer up to six months.


  • Dried black kadampuli (Garcinia Cambogia / Malabar tamarind) – 10 pieces
  • Five Green Thai hot peppers
  • One whole head of Garlic cloves
  • 2-inch piece Ginger
  • 2-inch piece of lemongrass
  • 2 tablespoon of salt
  • ¼ cup of whole Black pepper
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp of Coconut vinegar
  • Half a cup of soaked red Lentils
  • 1 tbsp of roasted Cayenne pepper powder
  • Sri Lankan black curry powder (Dry roasted Coriander, coconut, rice, curry leaves, Cardamom ground together)
  • Half a cup of mustard oil

Preparation of seasoning Base

Step 1

Soak Kadampuli and Lentils separately. Clean and discard the water. Add salt and set aside.

Step 2

Dry toast Cayenne pepper powder until fragrant in low flame stirring continuously. One thing to watch out here is not to overheat or overdo the toasting. As soon as color becomes deep red, and aromatic turn the flame off and transfer to a bowl. (As I have done many times while learning it is easy to burn red pepper powder and seasoning will taste bitter if the pepper is burned).

Step 3

Measure up 2 teaspoons of whole coriander, coconut flakes, 1 tablespoon of raw white rice, handful of curry leaves and 2 cardamom pods in to separate containers. Dry toast each item separately until brown and aromatic. Grind to a smooth powder in a mortar and pastel or a spice grinder. (if you are like me and sometimes don’t want to make it yourself, you can order pre-made black curry powder from amazon.)

Pre grind black peppercorns.

Add everything into food processor and blend until you get a smooth paste with just enough water. I use one of my smoothie cups in Ninja high speed blender for blending. Heat half a cup of mustard oil on low flame and cook the seasoning base until aromatic and raw taste of the garlic disappears. Let the seasoning base cool down completely. pack them into cute jars.

Butter fried Pork Chops with Ceylon roasted curry seasoning

3 pork chops (Boneless)  

2 tablespoons of seasoning base

Marinade pork in the seasoning base for 1 hour. Add tablespoon of olive oil to coat.  Heat the cast iron skillet up to smoke point. Sear the pork on both side 2 minutes per side (until color develops). Turn the heat to medium and add heaping tablespoon of butter on top of the pork per side and cook until done while basting in butter. I mean just eyeball the butter here please, we are not trying to make a healthy meal just a flavorful one.

Enjoy with your favorite crusty bread and grilled vegetables.


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