Sorak Curry is one of those most basic curries, which a vast majority of
This one-pot vegan coconut-based curry recipe was handed down to me from my mother in law and is very easily made and ready in less
What is the Sorak Curry?
One of the most basic and well-known curries in Goa is the Sorak curry.
You will find it being prepared in most local houses and this flavorful coconut-based curry is just part of the rich Portuguese influenced food culture.
That is exactly why sorak is the most basic goan curry!
Now please don’t assume basic equals boring because the curry without any proteins still does pack a punch and is highly enriched with wonderful flavors, that gives you a comforting feeling.
Some say Sorak is only prepared during monsoon because of fish scarcity, and ultimately fish rates soar in the rain flooded markets and ports.
I wouldn’t say that, however, I do admit that sorak is way more commonly prepared in goan homes during the heavy rainy season, yet you will also find a good basic coconut curry during the rest of the year.
Sometimes it is prepared and served with rice, a bhaji (veg stir fry) and rechead bangde (mackerel stuffed with a spicy red sauce).
Although, sorak is really mostly reserved to goan homes as restaurants and beach shacks tend to advertise fish and meat curries regularly more in their menus, and domestic tourists, admittedly, focus on the “forbidden” food, which they can’t get otherwise when surrounded by their communities.
Adding Souring Agent
What makes a Sorak so special is the fact that it is so basic but so very aromatic due to spices and another very important element, a souring agent.
Without something sour to enrich the curry, the curry would not be a sorak. Period!
In Goa, they use whatever nature gives them to sour the curry.
Very popular, and extremely local, ingredients include Cucumber tree fruit (Bimli), Tamarind paste (Imli) and Kokum skin (Mangosteen).
Other ingredients to sour your Sorak Curry
- lemon/lime juice
- green mango powder
- fresh young green mango
Vinegar is common in Goan cooking, however, it’s not used for a sorak. Vinegar is added mostly to meat curries.
So, if you don’t get any of those ingredients, just use lime juice as this does the trick most of the time and the coconut-based curry tastes great, although a bit different, with the lime/lemon juice.
If you get tamarind paste or even cucumber tree fruit then use those!
Cucumber tree fruits are very seasonal and harvest season is the Indian summer, from May to June.
I try to use a souring agent that is in season when I am in Goa.
In March I usually use small green unripe mangoes because we have a lot of those.
In Europe, I would just use tamarind paste or lime juice.
So, as you can see there is seriously no rocket science behind a quality homemade basic goan coconut Curry.
Sorak Curry Ingredients
I ALWAYS use my basic goan curry paste [link to recipe] and I would suggest you do the same.
You make a batch, use one half directly and freeze the rest for another curry weeknight dinner.
It will save you time, trust me!
To make the rest of the curry easily, you just need to make sure that you use fresh ingredients such as fresh chili and curry leaves.
If you can’t get fresh curry leaves then substitute with dried ones, but only if you have no other option!
I know these days you do get fresh curry leaves bundled in special Asian stores or bigger wholesale markets in Europe and generally speaking the western world.
Do not substitute curry leaves with curry powder!!
Curry powder has nothing to do with curry leaves and is a British thing [Balti Curries].
It has no place in proper Indian food, and even less in Goan curries!
The Sorak curry is a one-pot, 20 minute, a vegan and gluten-free dish that can be served as lunch or a weeknight dish with rice, vegetable stir-fries, fried vegetables or fish and spicy hot pickles (Vegans skip the fish).
For serving suggestions see below after the recipe.
More Goan Curries
Dear Reader, do you like sour spiced curries?
Sorak Curry Recipe
- In a Kadhai (Indian wok) or a Chinese wok heat up the oil and throw in the fresh slit green chili with the curry leaves and stir fry on high heat for minute or until you can smell the aroma of the spices.
- Then add the sliced onion, stir fry till translucent. Continue to add in the diced tomato pieces and stir fry as well until soft.
- At this point you can add in a tablespoon of tomato paste to stir fry quickly, so to pour in the red Goan paste. Just stir fry as well for a minute on high heat so that the ingredients get a bit cooked and the wonderful aromas are released.
- After that, pour in the veg stock (or water with the veg cube) and mix the content well. Reduce the heat a bit to medium/low and season with salt to taste.
- Now you can add in the souring agent! I used a cucumber tree fruit in this recipe (see video how to prepare it), however, you might use something else (see suggestions in the recipe notes). At this point, you can add in either tamarind, kokum, green mango fresh or powder. If you use lemon/lime juice, add the fruit juice only at the end when you finished the cooking and you have taken the curry from the heat completely, basically before serving), because I feel lemon. lime juice in curries change the flavor (and curdles the coconut) when cooked with the curry but when added to the end, the citrus flavor enriches the curry.
- Cook on low heat for 15 minutes and stir frequently. See the curry doesn’t get too hot as this might cause slight curdling of the coconut.
- Serve hot with rice and other serving suggestions below this recipe.
- As a souring agent use the juice of one lime or 2-3 pieces kokum or 1 Tablespoon concentrated Tamarind Paste or 3 small fresh Cucumber tree fruits (aka bilimbi/bimli fruit).
- It makes sense to prepare a bigger batch of curry. You can meal prep for the week ahead or freeze the rest for another day.
- To make this a Goan fish curry, just add your favorite fish into the curry with the other ingredients. People tend to add Mackerels and Kingfish mainly.
- For more flavor, cook the curry on slow heat over an extended period of time. They say the curry turns out better the second day when you warm it up again.
- This curry is often while also eaten for breakfast as a reduced thicker version with freshly prepared chapatis or pao or poi bread.