Cuisine of Goa: Pork Vindaloo

Other than its beaches, the highly sought after party scene, and the casino boats, what else does Goa have to offer? Why, the food of course! Goan cuisine is spicy and hot owing to its more than liberal use of chilies.

One of the most recognized Goan dishes is perhaps the vindaloo. The name vindaloo originates from the original Portuguese dish from which the modern day Goan vindaloo is derived from: “Carne de Vinha d’ Alhos”, which is a dish of meat, usually pork, with wine and garlic. Over time, the dish has evolved into what it has become today with distinct Goan influences, such as using vinegar instead of wine and of course, the addition of red chilies and other spices. The modern vindaloo is noticeably hotter and more pungent than the original Portuguese dish.

Here’s an easy, yet delicious recipe for pork vindaloo. The quantities of ingredients are for two servings, and may be increased accordingly.

Ingredients:

For the marinade:

  1. 1/8 cup of water
  2. 1/4 cup of vinegar (preferably palm vinegar, but standard white will work too)
  3. 4-8 whole red chilies (depending on how spicy they are and how spicy you like it)
  4. 5 whole Kashmiri chilies (they are not as spicy, but give the dish a bright red color that complements the hot flavours)
  5. 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  6. 1 tsp of coriander seeds
  7. 1 in. cinnamon stick
  8. 7-8 pepper corns
  9. 3 cloves
  10. 1/2 pod garlic, minced
  11. 1 in. ginger, minced (a 2:1 pre-prepared garlic-ginger mixture may be used, but freshly minced is preferable)

For the meat:

  1. 4 tsp vegetable oil
  2. 1/2 kg of boneless pork
  3. 1/2 kg onions, finely chopped (you may increase the quantity if you want a thicker gravy)
  4. 4-5 green chilies (you may skip this if you don’t want the gravy too hot)
  5. 1/2 pod of garlic, finely chopped
  6. 1 in. ginger, finely chopped

The pork must be marinated for at least 4 hours before you prepare the vindaloo. For best results, marinate overnight. Here’s the procedure:

Method:

  • With a mortar and pestle, grind the peppercorns and remove in a container. It won’t become a fine powder, and that’s perfectly okay.
  • Next grind together cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cloves. When done, add to the ground pepper and grind the cinnamon stick using the mortar and pestle. Add this to the mixture as well.
  • Grind the red chilies and Kashmiri chilies together to make chili flakes. Mix all the ground spices well and add the minced ginger and garlic. Now add water and vinegar and mix well again. To this mixture, add the pork and make sure that all of it gets well covered by the marinade mixture. Refrigerate for 4-12 hours.
  • Remove the pork from fridge to bring it as close to room temperature as possible.
  • Chop the onions, garlic and ginger finely.
  • In a heavy bottomed skillet, add the oil and set it to high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and fry them until they are translucent (This should take about 5 minutes).
  • Then add the chopped garlic and ginger, and the sliced green chilies, and fry them stirring for another minute.
  • Add the pork marinade (keep the marinated meat pieces aside for now) to the skillet and add salt to taste, letting it simmer for a while. Turn the heat to medium and add the pork. You may add more water if you feel there’s not enough liquid, but be mindful that pork releases its juices as it cooks.
  • Cover the skillet with a lid (or a large steel plate as a makeshift one) and cook on medium for another 15 minutes. Your pork vindaloo is ready! Serve with steamed rice and pickled onions for best results.

The best thing about this pork preparation is that it tastes even better on the second day and can be refrigerated for up to a week, so make a large batch and eat it over the week!

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