Some dishes can be made lean. Pork Indad isn't one of them. It is usually found on the Christmas dinner table of every self-respecting Manglorean Catholic home in India, but it sees many encores throughout the year on my table.
It's sweet, tangy, spicy, silky and oh-so-deliciously red. The fat that renders from the meat adds wonderful flavor to the final dish and specks the top with deeper hues of scarlet.
It's loved so dearly in most Manglorean homes that it's one of the first dishes daughters are taught to make, in order to impress potential grooms.
I fall in love with Pork Indad each time its distinct aroma fills the air, as the spice paste creates magic in the hot oil. It's one of those dishes that keeps well for at least a week and actually gets better over time because of that unbeatable combination of chillies and vinegar. But having any leftovers that long has always been far too ambitious a plan for me.
- 1 pound boneless pork shoulder or belly, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 medium cloves garlic, minced, plus 2 whole
- 1 tablespoon mined ginger
- Kosher salt
- 10 black peppercorns
- 2 cloves
- 1-inch piece cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 5 dried small red chilies
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion, grated on the medium holes of a box grater
- 1/2 tablespoon raisins
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves.
Toss pork, minced garlic, cinger, and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl until pork is thoroughly coated. Set aside.
Toast peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, poppy seed, turmeric, chili, and cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
Tansfer to a food processor or blender. Add onion, raisins, tamarind, remaining 2 cloves garlic, and vinegar. Blend until smooth.
Heat oil over high heat in a large heavy-bottomed lidded saucepan until shimmering. Add pork and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides, about 2 minutes, taking care not to burn garlic and ginger (reduce heat as necessary.
Reduce heat to low. Add spice past and stir vigorously until fragrant and oil is infused with red color of paste, about 10 minutes total. Add water and sugar. Cover and cook on medium heat until pork is tender, about 1 hour. Stir in mint leaves. Serve with bread or rice.