Recipe for Fried Pork with Evaporated Milk

An extremely delicious dish that had the whole family clamoring for more.

Fried Pork with Evaporated Milk

fried pork in evaporated milk

One day while I was cooking dinner, our helper Jessie (who gave us the recipe for Braised Squash with Lemongrass) mentioned this dish that she makes for her catered lunches that is always in demand. She said it was a fish dish that used evaporated milk and curry leaves. According to her, kids loved this dish.

I thought it sounded really good and asked if she would be willing to make it for us. She was very agreeable and told me that if I got her the evaporated milk, she would make it. She even bought the fish.

Now, having Jessie cook a dish for us on a weekday night is already a God-send. But not only that, this dish turned out to be extremely delicious. We ate it up and clamored for more. Fortunately, there was half a can of the evaporated milk left and Jessie told us that we could do this same dish with pork.

I just happened to have pork in my freezer (riblets to be exact—but pork belly chunks would’ve been even better). So Jessie agreed to cook this dish again the next day and even she agreed to wait till we got back home from work before starting to cook, so we could learn how to do it for ourselves. And now we get to share it with you!

Mingling Sweet and Savory

The key to this dish is to intermingling of savory flavors with sweet creamy flavors. This dish is reminiscent of the Malay style of cooking with loads of coconut milk (masak lemak) but instead of coconut milk, Jessie has substituted evaporated milk instead.

Evaporated Milk

evaporated milk

And the highlight of the dish is the fried curry leaves. If you’ve never had fried curry leaves, you’ve missed out my friend. There is nothing like it.

Fried sage can’t hold a candle to fried curry leaves. The aroma, pungency and savory factor of the leaves makes it one addictive eats! You need to get yourself to an Indian grocery store and find some fresh ones if you can because they are totally worth it. And in this dish, it is the star!

The other aromatics help of course—chopped garlic, minced shallots, and some small bird’s eye chillies. All these ingredients pack a wallop and make for an enticing dish that keeps you coming back for seconds and thirds and…you get the picture!

Curry Leaves, Shallots, Garlic and Chillies

curry leaves shallots and chillies

Recipe for Fried Pork with Evaporated Milk

1 lb pork riblets or pork belly, cut into chunks
2 Tbsp tapioca starch (or cornstarch will work too)
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper
enough oil to shallow fry the pork riblets

For sauce:
3-4 shallots, minced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
3-5 bird’s eye chilli pepper, diced small (number is up to you depending on how much spice you can handle but you must have at least a few)
a large handful of curry leaves (about 5-6 thick stalks)

half a can of evaporated milk, about 1 cup
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp chicken bouillon (or to taste)

1. Mix pork riblets or pork belly with the tapioca starch, salt and pepper and allow to sit for about half an hour to an hour.

Pork Riblets Marinating

pork ribs marinating

2. Heat up oil in a wok and fry the riblets until golden brown on all sides, about 4-5 mins per side.

frying pork ribs

3. Once pork is thoroughly cooked through, remove from oil.
4. Remove all but 3 Tbsp of oil from wok.
5. Throw in the shallots, garlic, chillies, and curry leaves into the hot oil and stirfry till the curry leaves start to smell really fragrant and become slightly crispy. Make sure that you don’t burn the garlic and shallots.

frying curry leaves shallots and chiles

6. Return pork to the wok along with the above ingredients. Cook pork a little longer (if fish, this part if not necessary but because it is pork, you want to meat to get a little bit more tender).

add fried pork to cur<br /> ry leaves shallots and chillies

7. After about 10-15 mins, pour in the evaporated milk, followed by the sugar and chicken bouillon.

pork simmering in evaporated milk

8. Let the whole dish simmer for a little while in this sauce (if needed, you could add a bit of water). Adjust seasoning—it should be savory with touches of sweetness and spicyness.
9. Plate up and eat with plenty of rice. Yum!

Fried Pork with Evaporated Milk

fried pork in evaporated milk

Try this dish and I guarantee you will love the combination of flavors. If you have a nice white fish (like dory), you could replace the pork for fish (except that the batter for the fish is slightly different and you don’t put the fried fish back into the sauce—you just pour it onto the cooked fish).


Cheers, Annie

Since these curry leaves came from our neighbor’s tree, I am entering this in the Grow Your Own recipe roundup this month, hosted by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes.

12 thoughts on “Recipe for Fried Pork with Evaporated Milk”

  1. Hi Annie – how are you and family back in Malaysia? I just returned back to USA. Hey, am wondering am I able to get curry leaves in US? I so miss my curry leaves plant back home in Malaysia.

  2. @all – thanks for your comments! There really isn't a substitute for curry leaves – they are quite a unique taste. Best I can suggest is to find an Indian grocery store near you.

  3. This has been on my backburner to make some day, and that some day was today. DELICIOUS!! I modified the recipe due to my own stupidity in not reading the recipe before shopping. I subbed the tapioca with sweet rice flour (mochiko), the shallots with half a yellow onion, and omitted the chiles because I didn’t have them. The curry leaves were an easy find at Lion’s. Since I neglected to read the recipe before shopping, I obviously forgot about pork belly being a better choice. The Other Half really had a desire to just sink his teeth into nuggets of meat, but instead ran into rib bones. Next time! And there WILL be a next time!

  4. I’m a Malaysian-Eurasian who has lived in Australia for over 25 years and I have never stopped craving for Malaysian dishes. I roamed the internet looking for authentic Malaysian dishes that take me back to my childhood. I’ve just come across yours and I’m going to try the beans with egg and pork riblets dish. I can’t wait to try this for dinner tomorrow. I’m pleased I found your website. Thanks.

    1. Hi Bernadine –

      welcome to our blog! I hope you like it enough to subscribe via RSS or email. Do let us know how you like the pork dish!

  5. I fixed this last night and was disappointed. I used pork belly from my local Korean grocery. It came in 1/4″ thick strips, like thick, uncured bacon, which I cut into fourths. My main complaint was that the meat was about 50% fat; so much fat is harder to chew and less flavorful than the actual meat. I’m not sure if that is typical for pork belly, but if I had used leaner meat, I would have enjoyed this dish more.

    I’m no stickler for low-fat cooking – I enjoy large quantities of coconut milk, hollandaise sauce, or cream cheese on anything – but this was like eating fat fried in cream, even though I cut way down on the amount of oil used. It was just too rich, especially with the condensed milk. I didn’t add extra sugar either, which was a good idea since the milk was sweetened.

    I’m also a little undecided about curry leaves. I really like their smell, in a kind of Platonic way, but sometimes I find it unappetizing.

    So, because of the cut of meat and my lack of love for curry leaves, I didn’t really like what I fixed, and would have to give it two stars. I’m sure that other people have better luck and more conducive tastes, though.

    I’ll definitely try the techniques again with varying ingredients. Maybe substituting in fish or chicken, coconut milk, and either Thai basil or kaffir lime leaves, and keeping the cornstarch, shallots, garlic, and chilies. One thing I really liked was how the bits of shallot and garlic that the cornstarch stuck to the bottom of the pan and slightly burned came up when simmering with the condensed milk, mingling and giving a more complex flavor.

  6. I’m going to make this tonight, I have pork fillets and an open can of evaporated milk that I need to use up and this should do the trick.

    Julia K did you use condensed milk or evaporated milk? They are very different things.

  7. Extremely delicious, indeed! Even the kids (5 and 8 yr olds) enjoyed it and they are excessively fussy eaters! I followed the recipe to the letter bar the bird’s eye chilli which I reduced to 2 for kid friendly purposes. They lapped ’em up, alright! Thanks heaps, Annie.

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