[Photograph: Prasanna Sankhe]
Note: Don't be alarmed by the amount of oil that will surface once the dish is made. This is necessary as it forms a layer over the pork and preserves it for future eating. Pork Vindaloo is often had over days and preserves well in the fridge because of this. Kashmiri chilies can be found in Indian specialty shops or online. Alternatively, use chiles de arbol.
About the author: Denise Dsilva 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.
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- Yield:Serves 2
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:1 hour
- 15 dried Kashmiri chillies (see note above)
- 2 teaspoons toasted whole cumin seeeds
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 (1-inch) pieces of cinnamon
- 9 whole black peppercorns
- 7 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 10 garlic flakes (or 2 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped)
- 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup of palm vinegar, or 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 pound pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
Combine chilies, cumin, turmeric, 1 piece of cinnamon, 5 peppercorns, 4 cloves, and sugar in a spice grinder. Grind until a fine powder is formed. Transfer spice mixture to food processor or mortar and pestle and add garlic, ginger, and vinegar. Process or pound until a fine paste is formed. Scrape out paste into a small bowl and set aside without washing food processor.
Place pork in a large bowl and season with salt. Add half of spice paste and turn pork to coat. Add onion to food processor and process until a paste is formed.
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion paste (do not wash food processor bowl), remaining 4 peppercorns, remaining cinnamon stick, and remaining 3 cloves. Cook, stirring constantly, until onion is soft and oil is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add remaining spice paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil separates and mixture starts to sizzle, about 5 minutes longer.
Add pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add water to the food processor bowl and swirl to rinse. Pour mixture into pan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 1 hour longer. Serve immediately with bread or rice, or for better flavor, cool, store overnight in a sealed container in the refrigerator, and reheat before serving.