Pulled Pork with Cinnamon and Cloves Recipe

(25 ratings)

Pulled Pork with Cinnamon and Clove photo
Pulled Pork with Cinnamon and Clove photo
(Image credit: The Spice Men)

This recipe is taken from the book, The Incredible Spice Men, £20, published by BBC Books.


  • 2kg (4lb 8oz) rolled pork loin or shoulder or collar
  • 50ml (2fl oz) vegetable or rapeseed oil
  • baby gem lettuce leaves, cleaned and well drained, to serve
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander, to garnish

For the masala marinade:

  • 1 tbsp broken pieces cassia bark or cinnamon
  • 15 cloves
  • 2 large dried red chillies
  • 5cm (2in) piece fresh root ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 small red onions, coarsely cut
  • 1 longish fresh green chilli
  • ½heaped tsp turmeric
  • 2½ tbsp tamarind paste
  • 100ml (3½fl oz) palm vinegar (if not available use cider vinegar)
  • ½tbsp brown sugar
  • 25ml (1fl oz) sunflower or rapeseed oil
  • ½tbsp salt


  1. First make the masala marinade. With a pestle and mortar, coarsely crush together the cassia bark or cinnamon and cloves. Gently toast this mixture in a dry frying pan over a low heat until a spicy fragrance emanates from the pan. Tear the red chillies into pieces and add to the pan. Continue to dry-fry themixture for a short while but do not burn. Set aside to cool

  2. Put the cooled spice mix in a blender. Add all of the remaining masala ingredients and blend the mixture to a relatively fine paste. Taste and adjust seasoning if you like

  3. Rub the masala all over the pork, and place the meat in a dish in which it fits snugly. Set aside any remaining masala. Cover the meat and set aside in the refrigerator, if possible for a few hours

  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Pour the oil into a roasting tin and heat on the hob over a medium heat. Scrape any excess masala from the marinated pork, place the pork in the roasting tin and brown well on all sides. Transfer to the oven and cook for 30minutes

  5. Reduce the oven heat to minimum. (You can now pour a few tablespoons of marinade over the pork for extra flavour. Any leftover marinade can be set aside to use for another dish.) Cover the pork tightly with aluminium foil, well tucked in so that the pork steams in the tin and the meat literally falls off when cooked. Cook for a further 3–3½ hours if using a rolled joint; if using smaller pieces or individual chops, adjust your cooking time accordingly

  6. Remove the pork from the oven and shred using two forks

  7. To serve, put some pork on top of a lettuce leaf. Top with some coleslaw (if using) or some coriander.