Beyond Curry: Pork Vindaloo
[Photograph: Prasanna Sankhe]
It's the dish the Portuguese left us with hundreds of years ago and adorns tables in Catholic homes over feast days and lazy Sundays. The 'Vin' part of the dish is derived from the Portuguese for wine or wine vinegar and the 'aloo' translates as garlic.
These are the primary ingredients that go into this popular pork preparation, with the usual suspects of fiery dry red chillis and peppercorns. As legend goes, the chillis and pepper were the Indian addition to the Portuguese dish, which was more like a garlicky stew.
Pork Vindaloo is hot and unashamedly so. It also seems to use a mini lake of vinegar and rendered fat, but it is the combination of these ingredients that makes it one of the best dishes to have after a few days. The fat forms a sealing layer when solidified and the spices and vinegar intensify over time, infusing into the meat more and more, giving it its characteristic hot and sour taste. The recipe has seen many adaptations for non-pork eaters, with even a vegetarian version which uses meatier (sorry) vegetables like aubergines, potatoes and mushrooms. But the original-flakey pork meat, capped with delicious soft fat that has soaked in all the tart and spicy goodness of the masala is the stuff that will make you a devotee.
You could make the spice paste and use just as much as you need. It stores well in the fridge for a couple of weeks because of the vinegar in the blend. Just make sure you don't add water while blending it. And there! You could be making another batch of vindaloo in a jiffy, just as the craving kicks in, in the next few days. As it surely will, with this recipe.
About the author: Denise D'silva Sankhe is a writer & creative director by profession. But that's only when she isn't eating her way across India. She recreates this delicious cuisine in her Mumbai home, which she shares with her husband, who has long since given up his determination to have salads for dinner.