Saturday, 21 January 2012

Pork Vindaloo

I love sour-spicy flavours. One of the reasons why I am a pickle addict. So if you combine vinegar and  chilli in one dish, it is sure to be a winner with me. And that brings me to the subject of this post - pork vindaloo.

Pork is not a very popular meat in India. It certainly ranks several notches below its rivals, chicken and mutton. Growing up in a Syrian Christian family, we definitely liked our pork curry, especially with kappa - a tuber that is cooked with coconut, cumin and turmeric. I'd call kappa the Malayali equivalent of mashed potatoes! My mother has her own signature pork curry recipe. She makes the curry with just a little gravy, but the gravy has great flavour and depth  because of the assorted spices that go into it.

From memory, I think she made a half-hearted attempt at a pork vindaloo once but it didn't manage to upstage her classic Malayali pork curry that she had perfected over the years.

When it comes to choosing my meats, I often tend to go for chicken. No fuss, easy to cook and ready to eat fairly quickly. Whilst I much prefer the flavour that lamb brings to a curry (chicken is so much more tasteless in comparison), it is so much heavier on  the stomach and takes so much longer to cook, that I often opt for the chicken instead. When I went grocery shopping last weekend though, I decided to ditch both chicken and mutton and go for the pork instead. Thought I'd be a little experimental and put together a pork vindaloo.

Have you ever wondered what "vindaloo" means? Apparently, it comes from the Portuguese Vinho d' Ahlos which is a dish of meat cooked with vinho (wine) and garlic (ahlos). This is not a surprise given the Portuguese influence in Goa, which was a Portuguese colony all the way up till 1960.

Pork vindaloo is a spicy curry with the unmistakable zing that comes from vinegar. I didn't have vinegar on hand and so decided to substitute with fresh lemon juice instead. The dish was tangy, just as I like it, but I think the use of vinegar might have yielded a curry with a slightly different flavour.

I got my recipe online, as usual, from this charming food blog that dedicated to Goan cuisine. So refreshing to see such an unusual blog in a sea of paeans to the predictable dal makhanis and paneer butter masalas of the world.

The cumin flavour was a tad too strong for me so I may cut down on that next time round. Also, I used too generous a hand with the pepper which meant that my curry was really spicy, so that too will be used sparingly the next time I try the recipe. In all though, I was happy with the results and will definitely return to the recipe the next time I pick the pork over its rivals at the butcher's.

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