Goan Pork Curry Tacos: Crossing Two Cultures

It could be said that I have never looked forward to a cookbook launch more than I have  “Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking with a French Accent.”

No, it isn’t the fact that it’s the very first book I’ve ever blurbed. (“A charming tale of moving to Paris for love—and staying for food. Ellise Pierce’s delicious accounts of weaving together Texas and French cuisines will leave you hungry. But what truly satisfies are the lovely stories that bind them all together.” — Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, author of A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family)

Or the fact that I’m mentioned in it. (Hello, page 189!)

Rather, it’s that in the close to three years in which I’ve been cooking along with Ellise over at Cowgirl Chef in our monthly Let’s Lunch Twitter lunchdate, I’ve been thinking: Why isn’t this woman writing a cookbook?

I’ve salivated over her black pepper strawberry scones, sundried tomato pesto palmiers and far more, thinking all of these need to be compiled in a book somewhere. Well, that time has come — Ellise’s cookbook hits bookstores May 15 and I couldn’t be happier for her.

To celebrate the occasion, the Let’s Lunchers decided on a virtual toast. In honor of Ellise’s blending of Texas and French cuisines, we’re each offering up a dish that melds two cultures. (Extra points if one of the two cuisines has roots in Texas or France.)

And so I’m thrilled to present: Goan pork curry tacos …

Now, I’m fairly new to making tacos at home, having been turned onto them recently by Joe Yonan, a fellow Let’s Luncher, whose lovely cookbook “Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking For One” has a recipe for great breakfast tacos.

Since then, I’ve pretty much decided that tortillas lend themselves well to just about everything. So why not a hearty curry?

I immediately thought of a Goan pork curry a Singaporean friend taught me, a recipe handed down by his Indian immigrant grandmother. It’s vinegary, spicy and gingery all at once — a complex combination of flavors that’s unforgettable.

This curry is terrific with plain white rice and, it turned out, delicious on tacos as well, topped with cilantro and a dab of cucumber raita to cool you down.

So, enjoy y’all. And to Ellise — cheers, happy book launch and merci beaucoup for being such a wonderful cooking partner!


Don’t forget to check out the Let’s Lunchers’ cross-cultural dishes below! And if you’d like to join Let’s Lunch, go to Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #Letslunch — or, post a comment below.

Anastasia‘s Miso Salmon with Mango Salsa at In Foodie Fashion

Cathy‘s Bacon-Studded Polenta With Tomato Gravy at ShowFood Chef

Charissa‘s Gluten-Free Azuki Bean Bundt Cake at Zest Bakery

Eleanor‘s Wok Picadillo at Wok Star

Ellise‘s Salty Lime Sablés (Margarita Cookies) at Cowgirl Chef

Emma‘s Kimchi Bulgogi Nachos at Dreaming of Pots And Pans

Felicia‘s Mexican-Lebanese Hummus at Burnt-Out Baker

Grace‘s Taiwanese Fried Chicken at HapaMama

Jill‘s Southern Pimento-Stuffed Knishes at Eating My Words

Joe‘s Grilled KimCheese Sandwich at Joe Yonan

Juliana‘s Fusion Chicken Casserole at Food, Fun & Life

Karen‘s Ukrainian-German Cabbage Rolls at GeoFooding

Leigh‘s Venezuelan-Italian Cachapas Con Queso at Leigh Nannini

Linda‘s Project Runway Pelau: Rice & Beans Trinidad-Style at Spicebox Travels

Linda‘s Edible Salad Totes at Free Range Cookies

Lisa‘s Sunday Night Jewish-Chinese Brisket at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Lucy‘s Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango at A Cook And Her Books

Maria‘s Spanish Shrimp with Bacon, Cheddar & Chive Grits at Maria’s Good Things

Nancie‘s Chili-Cheese Biscuits with Avocado Butter at Nancie McDermott

Patricia‘s Buttery Tofu, Pasta & Peas at The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook

Patrick‘s Kimchi Jigae and British Mash at Patrick G. Lee

Rashda‘s Mango Cobbler at Hot Curries & Cold Beer

Renee‘s Asian-Spiced Quick Pickles at My Kitchen And I

Steff‘s Chicken Fried Steak at The Kitchen Trials

Vivian‘s Funky Fusion Linguini at Vivian Pei


Cheryl’s Goan Pork Curry Tacos

1 lb lean pork, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 stalk curry leaf
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1- to 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
12 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds, pounded
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 Bombay onions (or small red onions), peeled and finely chopped
2 cups water (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder
1 to 2 tablespoons black or white pepper (Note: If you’re going to make a more gravy-heavy version — i.e. with the two cups of water — use white pepper so the gravy will be of a lighter color.)

Cilantro for garnish; Tortillas for serving.

Combine pork, salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, pounded mustard seeds, turmeric, chili powder and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl. Mix well so each pork piece is well-coated with the marinade. Set aside 1/4 cup of chopped onions then stir the rest of the onions in with the pork. Let this mixture marinate for at least two hours.

Heat vegetable oil in a wok over high heat, until oil is glistening. Add 1 TB mustard seeds and stir-fry until they become fragrant and start to really pop. Add 1/4 cup reserved chopped onions and curry leaf and stir-fry until fragrant. Then add pork mixture to the wok and stir-fry well. Once pork is mostly cooked, add two cups of water, if you want gravy. Let the mixture simmer until pork is cooked through.

Heat up tortillas. Place a few tablespoons of pork curry onto each heated tortilla, top with cucumber raita (recipe below) and cilantro garnish and serve.

Cucumber Raita Recipe

(via Epicurious, with a few tweaks)

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup chopped, seeded cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons chopped green onions
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, season with salt. Chill until ready to serve.

35 thoughts on “Goan Pork Curry Tacos: Crossing Two Cultures

  1. Pingback: Taiwanese Five-Spice Fried Chicken | HapaMama

  2. I LOVE pork curry and raita. I think Indian food lends itself really well to a taco since it’s often eaten with naan or chapati anyway! I sense the next food truck craze…

    And how did I miss the update about Elise’s book. Must go check it out! What a talented bunch.

    • True…I love how talented and creative everyone is. These dishes are all especially amazing this month — everyone outdid themselves! (And your Taiwanese fried chicken…oh MY!)

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  6. I’m so touched…and felt soo proud and excited for you, too, when your book came out! So thank you…thank you for this heartfelt post, and for your unwavering support over the last three (!!) years. I can’t believe it, can you? And to think it all started with bacon. We’ll always have that, won’t we? I’m making these tacos, too, by the way. Tortillas + curry! Love it!

  7. Love sound of this Goan pork curry. Very interesting addition of vinegar in a curry, have to try this. Gr8 to see you use a wok to make this, yay. Excited about Ellise’s new cookbook, so unique!

    • Agree — I was skeptical, too, at first but the vinegar really makes this dish. (A very Portuguese thing, I’m told.)

  8. Pingback: Project Runway Pelau | spicebox travels

  9. Pingback: Salty Lime Sablés (Margarita Cookies)

    • And I you, my dear! I love this month’s selection — so varied and so creative! I believe we have all five continents represented here…

    • Agreed! I’m thinking of using the rest of my tortillas with my mother’s recipe for soy sauce-braised pork belly. We’ll see…

  10. My how the Let’s Lunch group has grown! I love it!

    & Great recipe as always Cheryl. Mexican-Indian fusion is such a hot idea right now. There’s a resto & food truck fleet in SF called Curry Up Now, they do a tikka masala burrito… omg!

    Looks like your recipe would be amazing with a Mango Lassi drink.



    • Thanks! And I want to try that tikka masala burrito now — you’re going to have to tell me where this truck is! I love how big our group has gotten, too — I was just looking at the list today and thinking, Dang…

  11. Cheryl, you know the way to a girl’s heart is through her stomach. I love anything in a tortilla, but this sounds extra scrummy! Looking forward to cooking up my own batch ;-)

    • Loved yours, too! I’d never thought of putting fermented tofu in a pasta dish. Now I’ve got to try that!

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  13. Oh curry and tacos absolutely go together. I’m sure I’ve had Indian curry tacos before, but not with the Singaporean twist! Would a sprinkling of roasted peanuts be out of place here? Maybe the seeds add the crunch texture I’m thinking of. With or without, this sounds fab!

  14. Pingback: Kimchi Jigae and Mash | Patrick G. Lee

    • Loved reading about your rice pudding, too — as much as I love eating it, I’ve never made it. Will try your recipe soon!

  15. I was thinking to myself that the only curry I’ve had that uses vinegar is a vindaloo and when I googled it, vindaloo is Goan! Where did you get the inspiration for the curry? I love trying different fillings in tacos (tau yu bak is quite amazing) and this will be up next!

    • Thanks, Pat! This curry is a Singaporean friend’s grandmother’s recipe — I tried it one day and declared that I MUST have the recipe! It’s terrific even without Bombay onions, which aren’t sold in my Brooklyn grocery store, sadly. I was just thinking that tau yu bak would be amazing in a taco. Must try that next…

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