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Leiyolan's Pork with Sirārakhong Hāthei Chillies

Recipe by: Leiyolan Vashum  (adapted by Asha Loupy)


Leiyolan's Pork with Sirārakhong Hāthei Chillies
Photo by:  

Asha Loupy

When Leiyolan first shared this recipe with me, I asked, "That's it? Just pork, chillies, salt and water?"—yup, that's it. "These are some of the simple ways of Tangkhul cooking," he told me. This dish may be simple, but you won't be able to stop eating it. (On my first test, I stood shoveling cubes of pork straight from the pot to my mouth tbh.) Some kind of beautiful alchemy happens when these four ingredients simmer together for a few hours. The pork belly giving way to tender, succulence and the rendered fat reducing and mingling with the chillies to create a luscious, smoky, spicy sauce that is 1000% lip-smackingly delicious.

While bamboo shoots are more traditionally added to this dish in Nagaland—just north of Manipur than they are in the hills of Ukhrul, you can add them if you want to extend the dish a little (just add them in the last 25–40 minutes of cooking). Other welcome additions are cooked beans and potatoes. Serve with plenty of basmati rice and tomato Sivathei chilli chutney.

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  • 1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 pound boneless pork belly, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2–2 tablespoons powdered Sirārakhong Hāthei Chillies
  • One 15-ounce can bamboo shoots in water, drained and rinsed (optional)


  1. Place the pork shoulder and pork belly and salt in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the pork by 1/2 inch (about 5–6 cups). Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, reduce the heat to medium low and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Skim any foam off the surface of the water.
  2. Stir in the powdered chillies and continue to cook on medium low, uncovered, until the pork is tender about 1–1 1/2 hours.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and continue to cook, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by about two-thirds, about 25–40 minutes. (If using bamboo shoots, add them in this step for the last 25–40 minutes of cooking.)
  4. Serve with basmati rice and tomato Sivathei chilli chutney.

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