Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Goan Pork Vindaloo -- from the husband-man

There is this Netflix show called "the Indian Matchmaking" which has created quite a furore in the Indian community!! I am not aware of current match making scenarios in India but the show was entertaining reality TV. At first I couldn't believe some of the things I heard like the constant demand for "flxible, fair, slim" girls as a bride!!! This was the 21st century goddammit. but then I never believed in a virus stopping life either.
Many reviews and comments on FB felt the show was vile and cringeworthy but I feel that it is partly true of the Indian society. You might deny it and downplay it, but it is not far from the truth.

In India, the discussion, judgements and arguments over eating habits, veg or non-veg, pork and beef is as vehement as the show!!

Last year November when I was in Kolkata, I was on the Calcutta roads a fair amount of time. There was a particular driver whose car I would rent. I had a really good time chatting with him as we plied the roads of the city, from one corner to the other.

One day he asked me "Didi, apni pork khan?" (Didi do you eat pork?)

I ho-hummed and admitted that I did. "It tastes almost like chicken", I assured him.

"Kintu Didi beef? Beef o okhan America te?" (What about Beef? Do you eat beef also in America?)

I ho-hummed again. Well we do eat beef once in a while. I don't like steak because I find the meat too gamy to my taste but my kids love Italian meatballs and those are best with ground beef

"Haa khai majhe majhe," I admitted to eating beef occasionally.

The driver was alarmed and he admonished me, "Kintu Goru to Ma, Goru khaoa apnar thik noy." (but Cows are our Mother, you shouldn't eat them).

Probably his words came from the heavy hand of religion but I couldn't blame him. I did not eat beef or pork growing up in my home in India. Ours was a middle class Brahmin family, pretty conventional about the food that was cooked and eaten. So pork and beef were strictly beyond the realms of food that we could eat. In fact for a long time even chicken was not allowed in my grandmother's home, though we were allowed to cook it in the garden or eat outside. I never saw any of our family or friends eat pork sausages or steaks either, and I largely categorized them as meats that were popular only outside India. Only later did I learn that sausages and cold cuts were very popular among a certain section of Calcutta Bengalis even in the days when my Mother warned me never to eat such meat.

I desperately looked for a reasoning beyond that it tasted good. I mean eating meat, any meat itself is not the kindest thing as my daughter keeps reminding.

"But oita to America'r goru, ora amader Ma noy," I mumbled. (Those are American cows. They are not our mothers.)

The driver pondered over this, and reluctantly nodded his head. I breathed a sigh of relief.

A month later, my Mother calls me on the phone, "You eat beef? And you discussed that with the driver? He complained to me about your eating habits."

I stayed mum.

While I did broaden my eating habit, after coming to the US, only recently (in the last two years) have I started buying and cooking meat other than goat, lamb and chicken. We are still not great at cooking beef other than in meatballs or burger but pork is right up our alley.

During the lockdown when chicken was scarce, we bought pork loins a few times from Costco. The husband-man made a Pork Vindaloo, from his memory of pork curries that he ate in small eateries around his hostel in Kolkata. We asked a couple of our Goan neighbors for recipes and they shared a few which I duly forwarded to the husband-man on whatsapp. he combined teh recipes, did something and madea relaly mean pork Vindaloo.

Now I have never had a Pork Vindaloo back in Goa but his tastes so good with just the right balance of spices -   the curry is on the thinner side like a jhol but spicy hot, the tartness of vinegar balances the heat but still man it is hot. In all it tastes delicious with white rice and a salad on the side.

Do try it!


Pork Loin - 2 Lb, cut into 1" cubes

Masala Paste

Dried Kashmiri chile peppers - 10-12 (deseed them if you can't take the heat)
Cinnamon stick -- 1" piece
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Whole cloves - 6
Whole black peppercorns - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Paprika - 1/2 tsp
White vinegar - 1 Tbsp

Onions - 4 chopped
Garlic - 10 cloves minced
Ginger - 2" piece minced

Salt - to taste
Vegetable oil - 1/4th Cup

Boiling water - 2 Cups
Green Chilies - 4
White vinegar - 1/4th Cup

Prep the Spices

In a dry spice grinder or electric coffee grinder, grind the Kashmiri chiles, cinnamon stick, cumin, clove, peppercorns, and turmeric to get a fine spice powder. Mix the spice powder with1 tablespoon of white vinegar to create a smooth paste. Season to taste with salt.

Marinate Pork

Marinate the pork cubes with the spice-vinegar paste until evenly coated. Cover the bowl wand marinate in the refrigerator overnight or at least for 5-6 hours.

Start Cooking

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

Add the onions, garlic, and ginger. Saute until aromatic and onion is soft and brown.

Add the pork along with its marinade, and cook. Stir until meat loses raw coloring. Season to taste with salt.
Now pour in 2 cups boiling water, bring it to simmer.

Reduce heat, cover, and cook until the pork is tender, about 40-45 minutes.

Once the meat is cooked, add the green chilies and 1/4 cup of vinegar. Cook uncovered until the green chilies have softened and the vindaloo has thickened, about 30 more minutes.

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  1. Loved reading this post! My ma got similarly scandalized once she came to know that I had eaten 4-legged creatures other than those who go "myaaa"! :D
    Tarpor ektu roast chilli pork kheye ma bollo "bhalo" :D - beef ta khayeni jodio!
    Bollei bole, "amader baritey Bhogoboti'r pujo hoto!"

  2. It is quite interesting. I also started making pork vindaloo during the lockdown. I follow a modified version of Jamie Oliver’s vindaloo recipe

  3. Replies
    1. True!! I will tell my mother :-D


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