Pork Bafat | Mangalorean Catholic Dukra Maas

Walk down any road in the coastal town of Mangalore and glance at the names on the houses, embedded neatly into the thick, red laterite stone walls beside the gate. Mascarenhas, D'Souza, Castelino, Fernandes, Noronha, D'Silva, Albuquerque, Gonsalves, Lobo, Pinto... 

What do they have in common, other than the fact that these are all Indian Mangalorean Catholic families with Portuguese surnames? They all know how to make a mean Pork Bafat!

Pork bafat in a white bowl surrounded by red radishes, coriander leaves, peas, white rice and lime


The story would be no different if you strolled down any street in Goa, admiring the brightly colored tiled houses and the little grottos to Our Lady and Infant Jesus carefully constructed into the house walls. Just add traditional Goan Catholic names like Carvalho, Miranda, Nazareth, Pereira, Braganza, Da Costa...to the alphabet soup of surnames adorning the compound wall. Walk into any of these Indian Catholic homes and they will all be able to rattle off the recipe for their special pork dish... pork sorpotel; a rich pork stew/curry that uses a bafad style masala but includes the addition of pork spare parts in the dish).


Casa dos Collacos, Margao, Goa, Blue and white portuguese style house name ceramic tile on red wall
Casa dos Collacos (House of Collaco)- A Catholic household in Margao, Goa with the family name displayed on the wall.

Blue and yellow Portuguese style buildings in Margao, Goa
Portuguese style homes in Margao, Goa


What is Bafat Powder? 

Bafat, also spelled baffad, baffat or bafath, is a type of masala used traditionally in Goan and Mangalorean Catholic cooking.

Baffad powder consists of a special blend of whole spices, that are dried, roasted and then ground into a powder. 

Bafat powder is made by first drying red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, turmeric, cinnamon and cloves in the hot sun. The dried spices were then roasted lightly on a tawa and ground into baffad powder, bottled and kept ready for use when cooking pork, beef, mutton or chicken.


Mangalorean Bafat Powder

I remember my grandmother drying her whole spices on the baking hot terrace, under the leering eyes of the neighborhood crows who would descend for a peck or two when our backs were turned. In the blinding white heat of the tropical, afternoon sun, the spices would dry in no time.

In the good old days, every household made their own special blend of baffat powder. So, everybody's pork bafat would have their own special signature flavour based on their own particular homemade blend of spices;  if you want to sound fancy, you could call it an artisanal house blend bafat.

Nowadays, commercially prepared bafat powder is readily available in supermarkets all over Mangalore.


Red masala powder, bafad powder in a white square plate with a spoon
Mangalore Bafat Powder Masala


Best Bafat Powder Brands

The best place to buy Bafat powder is...in Mangalore! No surprise there.

Raysons Bafath masala and RON Bafath masala are my favourite brands of Mangalorean Bafath masala.

And my go to place to buy these brands of Bafath masala are:


  • Check the manufacturing date on the package to ensure that you are buying the freshest masala. If a masala is kept too long in hot and humid conditions, it loses its potency and flavor.
  • To store bafat powder after opening, transfer to an air tight glass bottle and store in the refrigerator. Don't forget to label the bottle, so you don't mistake it for chili powder!


 Mangalorean Pork Bafat or Dukra Maas

 Bafat powder is most famously used to prepare pork. And the dish is called Pork Bafat or dukra maas is Konkani.

 I have to say that for Mangy Catholics, nothing says 'celebration' better than Pork Bafat. Whether it's a roce, a wedding, a KCA (Konkan Catholic Association) event, a birthday party, Christmas dinner, Easter lunch, a baptism or a run of the mill dinner party, one thing you can be assured of on the menu is Pork Bafat (or its fancy cousin, Pork Sorpotel). Seved with fluffy sannas and a cucumber karamb...mmmm...divine!


Pork Bafat - A dish that brings everyone together

In the olden days, for roces and weddings, the wedding party would carry all the ingredients for the feast (including a live, squealing pig) to the wedding house. On the day of the function, the ladies would come together at the back of the house, cutting and chopping up all the ingredients to make the meal. Laughing, gossiping and catching up over kitchen knives and boiling pots, I'm sure many a match making event took place while preparing these feasts.

Just like there's no party without the Mangy uncle doing the handkerchief dance while balancing a glass of whisky atop his head, it's no party if there's no Pork Bafad or Pork Sorpotel on the menu. It really is a celebratory dish that brings everyone together.


What Cut of Pork to Use for Pork Bafat

Pork shoulder/ picnic shoulder or pork butt are good cuts to use for Pork Bafat. 

Indian pork is very fatty and a lot of fat and oil is released while cooking, for a rich gravy. However, pork in the U.S. and Canada is actually quite lean. So, when making pork bafat with lean pork, pour cooking oil over the meat and ingredients before cooking.


How to Make Mangalorean Pork Bafat

Once you've got your hands on a good Bafat powder masala, making Pork Bafat is really simple- just 3 steps.

  1. Chop pork and all ingredients
  2. Mix all ingredients together
  3. Cook covered on low flame


1. Chop Ingredients

 This dish involves a lot of chopping. Chop up the pork, red onions, garlic, ginger and green chilies.

Ingredients for bafad pork, red onions, bay leaves, cloves, garlic, ginger on a cutting board with a santoku knife
Ingredients for Pork Bafat-  Clockwise from top: Bay leaves, cloves, chopped garlic, green chilies, cinnamon, chopped ginger, chopped red onions.

2. Mix all ingredients together 

The next step is to mix all the chopped ingredients together with the pork, whole spices and bafat powder, tamarind and vinegar.

Cut pork mixed with chopped onions and spices
 Raw cubed pork and all chopped ingredients, mixed together with baffad powder, tamarind and vinegar.


3. Cook covered on low flame until the pork is tender

There is no need to add water while cooking.

The onions and meat release water as they cook and the vinegar and tamarind serve to thicken up and tang up the gray. 

This dish is best prepared a day in advance of serving, so that the pork has time to stew in the vinegary gravy and absorb all the flavors of the masala.


Baffad pork
Cooked Baffad Pork

General Ingredient Proportions for Making Pork Bafat

You can make any quantity of pork, if you keep in mind these general proportions of pork to the remaining ingredients and masala.


1. Ratio of Pork: Onions: Garlic

The ratio of chopped pork to chopped onions is 2:1.

The ration of chopped pork to chopped garlic is 10:1

  • 1 kg pork (2.2lbs), use 500g onions, 100g garlic
  • 2 kg pork (4.4lbs), use 1kg onions, 200g garlic
  • 3 kg pork (6.6lbs), use 1.5 kg onions, 300g garlic 

2. Ratio of Pork: Bafat Powder

How much bafat powder to use when cooking pork?

For spicy pork bafat, the general rule is 1 1/2 flat tablespoons or 5 flat teaspoons per pound (500g) of pork. 

  • 1 kg pork (2.2lbs), use 3 flat tablespoons bafat powder
  • 2 kg pork (4.4lbs), use 6 flat tablespoons bafat powder
  • 3 kg pork (6.6lbs), use 9 flat tablespoons bafat powder

The potency of bafat powder can vary depending on the various brands and how long it has been stored. 

  • If you're not sure how potent the bafat powder might be, use less bafat initially and half way into cooking, test for spiciness and add more bafat powder accordingly.


Recipe: Pork Bafat or Mangalorean Dukra Maas



2.75lb or 1.25kg Pork Butt / Picnic Shoulder
3 tablespoons Bafat powder
600g chopped red onions (Equivalent to 3 large red onions, chopped or 4 cups chopped red onions)
125g garlic, chopped
40g ginger, chopped
5 green chilies, chopped
3-4 bay leaves 
6 cloves
2 inches cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon Tamicon paste or tamarind paste
1/2 to 3/4 cup vinegar (to taste)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Cut Pork

Cut the pork into small pieces. Ideally, cut pork such that a pork piece has both lean meat with a cap of fat. Wash meat and drain water.

Step 2: Mix all ingredients together

In a large vessel, mix the cut pork with the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, green chilies, bafat powder, salt, tamarind paste and vinegar. 

(If using lean pork from the U.S or Canada, pour a generous portion of oil into the mixture and toss to coat with oil before cooking. If using Indian pork, this step is not necessary as Indian pork has adequate amounts of fat)

Step 3: Cook

Cover vessel and bring the pork to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook slowly for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

Cook until pork is tender. Test if additional salt or vinegar is required and season accordingly.

Prepare a day in advance of serving.

Related Mangalorean Recipes:

Kube Sukke (Clams in Coconut)

Hand holding clams and eating it with a fork

Mangalorean Roce Chicken Curry (Kunkdamas Roce Kadhi)

Indian Chicken curry with a coconut shell ladle

Crab Curry (Kurli Sukka)

Crabs in a blue dish with white frangipane flowers

Check out My Cookbook Index for more on the menu.

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