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My mom is one of the most amazing cooks that I will ever know. If I had to pick just one favorite, it has to be her Sorpotel. My Virgo Mom, was as meticulous as they come, she would take the time to cut her meat into perfect little cubes that danced in a fiery sour and spicy gravy.


Sorpotel spelled with an o or an a is one of the most traditional and beloved curry dishes served on celebratory occasions. This is rumoured to have originated from the Alentejo region of Portugal, and was carried with Portuguese colonists and settlers to the countries of their conquests. The Portuguese set up their colonies in Goa and the Goans quickly adopted this dish and christened it Sorpotel – Soro meaning alcohol. I would imagine that the original recipe may have contained alcohol. There are so many variations to this recipe out there, the East Indians and Mangaloreans all make their own version of this. In my mind, Sorpotel should be exactly as my mother made it, she followed a typical Goan recipe with perfectly small cubes of meat in a delicious deep red sour and spicy gravy. Versions that are brown and with large chunks of meat just don’t cut it for me.


Sorpotel is traditionally made with Pork and Offal being organs like Liver, Kidney & Gizzards. Because my family does not eat Pork, I was toying with the idea of making a Chicken Sorpotel for years. I think I may have asked my mom to email me the same recipe multiple times. Last year, just before Christmas, I found an old email print out from my mom, she was kinda annoyed that I was asking for it so many times. This is dated 2002!


Last year, December 2015, I replicated her recipe originally intended for Pork using Chicken Thigh and Beef liver and the results were outstanding, if you have a really good recipe, you can’t go wrong. Many people cannot eat Pork for religious or dietary reasons, so Chicken is a great alternative but if you would like to make this using the traditional protein, pork shoulder is a good cut but the belly is the fattiest and probably the most popular cut used in this preparation. I know you will probably ask – ‘what if I don’t eat liver?’ Leave it out, be warned though without this you’re pretty much going to get a delicious curry, but not a Sorpotel.


I follow a 2:1 ratio, 2 parts Chicken to one part liver. For the Ofal I prefer to only use liver. I find that if you use other organs the textures are all so varied, it just gets too confusing. I’m using Beef liver since it does resembles Pork liver in texture and color. It’s also convenient because of it’s size, but if you don’t eat Beef, Goat or Lamb liver can easily be substituted. You cannot use Chicken Liver as it’s too soft. To replicate the fatty Pork meat, I’ve used Boneless Chicken Thigh and I’ve got this uncleaned as you can see all the fat still on the meat.


Every good Sorpotel starts with a great spice blend. My mother used a lot of Kashmiri Chillies in her masala blend for intense red color without too much heat. Many people add animal blood to their Sorpotel – quite frankly I find that gross, so the Kashmiri chillies are going to have to paint my Sorpotel red for me. This recipe also uses some traditional Goa vinegar. If you cannot find Goa vinegar, you can substitute Red Wine Vinegar.


Please practice food safety, don’t use the same utensils, boards etc for raw and cooked meat and be sure to wash your hands.


And I’ll sign off with a joke – My friend Succorine from Soglechem Succorine said to me ‘Karen bai, did you know Sorpotel was named after a Gujju? I said what? They don’t even eat meat … then she said yes, the man was ‘Sor’ Patel’ … I can’t believe I fell for that one and if you’re laughing, I can’t believe you fell for it too!

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SORPOTEL – GOAN Deep Red Sour & Spicy CURRY


  • Masala
  • 25 Red Kashmiri Chillies
  • 6 cloves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1” piece of Ginger
  • 1 small ball of tamarind soaked in 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 2 lbs Boneless Chicken Thigh – untrimmed with fat is better
  • 1 lbs Beef or Goat liver
  • 8 cloves
  • 4 sticks of cinnamon
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp Garlic cloves julienne
  • 1”piece Ginger julienne
  • 2 green chillies slit horizontally


  1. Grind the cleaned Red Chillies, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, cumin seeds and turmeric to a powder and then add the wet ingredients garlic & ginger and grind them with have the tamarind water
  2. Add 1/2 a cup of the Vinegar. Grind and keep scrapping. Add the other ½ cup of the vinegar water and grind again
  3. Heat some oil and add some cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns. Render the fat of the Chicken thigh
  4. Flip the Chicken over, and cook it in batches so you don’t over crowd the pan
  5. Add a little bit of salt and 2 cups of water
  6. Cover and bring to the boil and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning the chicken in between
  7. Once the Chicken is cooked, remove this and leave aside to cool and save the stock.
  8. Wipe down the saute pan, add more oil, more cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns and saute the liver. Just be careful with the heat because the liver can blacken quite quickly, turn it over
  9. Add salt, 2 cups of water to the pan, cover and cook for about 15 – 20 minutes, remove and cool. Reserve this stock as well
  10. Using a sharp knife, cut the cooked and cooled Chicken into small cubes
  11. Do the same with the Liver. Don’t be worried if you notice some pinkness in the middle, just slice it and zap it for 30 secs in the microwave
  12. Wipe down my saute pan again and to add some julienne of ginger and garlic followed by 2 green slit chillies, just keep these aside as we will use it as a garnish later
  13. Add more oil followed by I cup of finely diced red onions as soon as they turn color a little bit, add the Chicken and Liver cubes and saute them together
  14. Add all the Sorpotel Masala and let it cook. Mix it together with the meat cubes and mix well
  15. Add 1 cup of water to your food processor and add this into your pan. You don’t want to waste any of that masala
  16. Add the final ½ cup of Tamarind water and mix well.
  17. Add the stock of the Chicken, but discard any of the fat that’s floating at the top.
  18. Also going to add about a ½ cup of the Liver stock. I’m not using all of it as I want to preserve that nice red color
  19. Taste for salt and add as much as needed. Cover and cook on a slow flame, stirring frequently so the gravy does not burn at the bottom
  20. Garnish your Sorpotel with julienne of Ginger and Garlic and the green chillies