A few years ago we traveled to India. India is the place where Paul’s brother and sister-in-law met, and where Paul’s brother lived and worked for a number of years. It is a vibrant country with a huge diversity of cuisine. We learned early on in our travels, how hard it is to recreate dishes in our home kitchen without some hands-on experience of the regional cooking techniques and ingredients. Having struggled to master Indian cooking at home, we signed up for a cooking class in each region we visited, and Vindaloo was at the top of our list.
Pork Vindaloo is a spicy, garlic and vinegar seasoned pork dish that comes from the South Indian state of Goa, known for its unique blend of Portuguese and Indian cuisine. Vindaloo’ s name comes from the Portuguese words ‘vinho,’ wine (vinegar), and ‘alhos,’ garlic. Introduced to Goa by Portuguese colonists, Vindaloo evolved with the addition of Indian spices and seasonings. Vindaloo is a uniquely pungent stew with a strong punch of garlic, vinegar and mustard, mellowed by rich coconut milk. Madhur Jaffey, an award winning Indian cooking authority, is a wonderful resource if you are looking to make Indian food at home, and our recipe for Pork Vindaloo follows in her style of simplified Indian cooking.
Yield: Serves 6
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 onions, roughly chopped
- 7 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 teaspoons cumin
- 3 teaspoons turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (makes a mild dish)
- 3 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 pounds pork shoulder , cut into 1 inch cubes
- 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons grainy mustard
- 2 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk
- 1/2 cup water
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes until the onion is soft and starting to brown, stirring regularly.
- Add the garlic and spices (cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt) and stir for 1-2 minutes until you can smell the spices.
- Add the pork, red wine vinegar, mustard, coconut milk and water, and stir to combine. Cover and bring stew to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 ½ hours. The pork should be fork tender, but not falling apart on their own. At this point your sauce will be fairly loose; remove the lid and continue cooking the stew if you would like to further thicken the Vindaloo sauce.
- Serve the Vindaloo over basmati, or another rice or grain. A cucumber raita, chutney and/or naan are also good accompaniments. This dish keeps well for two days, but does not freeze well (the sauce will break).
- Add more cayenne to increase the heat to your preference. The recipe as written is mild.
- Some recipes call for the addition of a small amount of brown sugar to counteract the tartness of the vinegar and mustard. Add up to 1 tablespoon according to your preference.
- Some recipes call for browning the pork over high heat prior to simmering it in the sauce in step 3. We have enjoyed this dish both ways, but our current version is streamlined and does not include this step.