Sorpotel, ‘Sarpatel’ or ‘Sarapatel’ is one of the most popular curries of Indo-Portuguese origin. It is a fiery-red Sorpotel is tangy, spicy and sweet all at the same time. In the olden days, pig rearing was a common practice in Goan villages. Every ingredient and source of food was cherished and the people believed in there being no wastage of any kind. The Sorpotel, therefore, came to be traditionally made using Pork meat, Pork liver and Offal. In fact, it even a sign of good luck and fortune to consume a dish made out of Pork for ‘Easter’.
The delicious Sorpotel would be simmered over a chul (fireplace)in traditional clay pots. Locally sourced ingredients that were added to it would include homemade toddy vinegar. The Sorpotel would be left to ‘mature’ for a few days (vinegar acts as a great preservative) before being relished with Pão (bread), Xit (rice)or Sannas (steamed balls of fermented dough). It has been a festive speciality in Goa for many generations!
We’ve replaced the Pork with Lamb meat, although we think Chicken would be a good substitute as well! We’re sure the original Sorpotel made using Pork tastes the best. But we’ve come close to it with an alternative meat option that’s very tasty and flavourful. Why sacrifice having to relish Sorpotel simply because of the choice of meat? We hope you give this delicious version a try.
If you’d like to try the original Pork version of the Sorpotel, please visit Dusty’s Foodie Adventures. It’s a wonderful place for authentic Goan cuisine and inspired us to make our own version of Sorpotel. Thank you David! 🙂
For Preparing the Lamb Meat:
- 600g Lamb meat
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 cup Water
- 4-5 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
For the Sorpotel Masala Paste:
- 1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 12 Red Bedgi Chillies
- 7 large Red Kashmiri Chillies
- 1-inch piece of Ginger
- 10 cloves of Garlic
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
- 14 Black Peppercorns (Kali Mirch)
- 7 Cloves (Lavang)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
- 1-inch piece of Cinnamon (Dalchini)
- 1 small ball of fresh Tamarind (Imli)/ 1 teaspoon Tamarind Concentrate
For the Sorpotel Curry:
- 2 Green Chillies, or to taste
- 1 large Onion, finely chopped
- 2 heaped tablespoons Brown Sugar
- Salt, to taste
Preparing the Lamb Meat:
Pour half a cup of water into a wide non-stick pan. Add a teaspoon of salt and the chunks of cleaned lamb. Cover the pan and boil the meat on medium flame until it has cooked.
Once the lamb meat has cooked, drain the chunks of meat onto a plate lined with kitchen roll (tissue paper). Reserve the delicious lamb stock left in the pan for use later.
Cut the chunks of lamb meat into small 1-inch cubes.
Heat 4-5 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wide non-stick pan. Sauté the cubes of lamb in the hot oil in two batches, allowing the cubes of meat to sizzle and brown evenly on all sides. Once browned, drain the cubes of lamb onto a plate lined with kitchen roll (tissue paper) and keep aside.
Making the Sorpotel Masala Paste:
In a small pan, dry roast the red bedgi chillies, kashmiri chillies, cloves, black peppercorns, cumin seeds and cinnamon. Roast the spices on low-medium heat, stirring often so they do not burn. Once the spices are fragrant, keep them aside to cool. Grind the roasted spices with the red wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, fresh tamarind (or tamarind concentrate) and turmeric powder to obtain a smooth, fine paste.
Making the Sorpotel Curry:
In the same pan used to sauté the cubes of lamb meat earlier, add the finely chopped onion. The oil used to fry off the meat earlier will flavour the onion as it caramelises.
Once the onions turn golden-brown, add in the Sorpotel Masala Paste and sauté for five minutes. After the masala paste has lost its raw flavour and begins to release its own oil, add in the reserved lamb stock and salt to taste. Bring the curry to a simmer and then add in the cubes of sautéed lamb meat. Give the curry a good stir, cover and simmer for five minutes. Add the slit green chillies and brown sugar to the curry and simmer for a further ten minutes.
The Sorpotel tastes best when it is allowed to rest for a few hours. This gives all the flavours a chance to mingle and intensify. It tastes even better the next day, once the red wine vinegar has mellowed and tenderised the meat even more.
Serve the Sorpotel with fresh Pão (bread), Sannas (steamed balls of fermented dough) or Xit (rice). Another great accompaniment to the Sorpotel would be the ‘Tandlachi Bhakri’, a traditional flatbread made using rice and coconut.