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Pork Colombo

Colombo is a spice blend that was introduced to the Caribbean by Indian and Sri Lankan laborers. In fact, colombo is named after the capital of Sri Lanka. Because the spice blend is not available in the United States, Corinne Trang makes her own version, using a mixture of curry powder, ginger and garlic.

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  • Servings: 8

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  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • One 1-by-2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 habanero chile, seeded and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 pounds large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • White rice, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, toss the pork with the lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Drain the pork and pat dry with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large casserole. Add one-third of the pork and cook over moderate heat until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a large plate. Brown the remaining pork in 2 batches and add to the plate.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the casserole along with the onions, garlic and ginger and cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and brown sugar and cook for 1 minute. Add the parsley, chives, thyme and chile and cook just until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Return the pork, along with any accumulated juices, to the casserole, and stir until evenly coated with the seasonings. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook the pork over low heat for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots, season with salt and pepper and cook until the meat and vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. Serve the colombo hot in large bowls. Pass the rice separately.

Make Ahead

The colombo can be refrigerated for 2 days.

Suggested Pairing

A fruity, off-dry Riesling will cool the hot spices in this dish and complement the sweet ingredients, too. Choose a citrusy Washington State bottling, such as those from the Columbia Valley.

Contributed By Published December 2000

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