Thursday, December 02, 2021

Pig In a Pumpkin with Indian spices -- from Chef John's Pumpkin-Braised pork

Braised Pork in Pumpkin, Chef John

Pig In a Pumpkin with Indian spices | Chef John's Pumpkin-Braised pork 

Pig In a Pumpkin is a fun, seasonal recipe where the pork is braised for hours in seasonal sweet pumpkin.The original recipe is from Chef John as shared in AllRecipes. The husband-man has used Chef John's braising method and technique but his own blend spices. He has basically used the Goat Sukka Masala as his dry spice powder and marinated the meat with sharp stinging mustard oil, ginger-garlic paste and sliced red onion. Recipe Cards included in this post.

Back in 2019, the husband-man had made this dish for our Thanksgiving get together. Pig-In-A-Pumpkin might sound like the title of a bad murder mystery or a children's book, but it was huge hit with all who had a chance to taste it. I was in India at that time and missed that chance. 

Once I was back, everyone still kept raving about the dish. I still had not tasted it.
Then whenever any pork dish was made for a party, everyone still kept telling the husband-man, "Oita ja baniyechilis, uff"!! I had still not tasted it.

The thing is, this is a dish which is as seasonal as they come. Mid October to end of November -- that is the short time period ideal to try out this recipe as that is when you will get the type of Pumpkin(small sweet pumpkins used for making pies) needed for this recipe!! The pig you can get any time, that is not seasonal.

This year, I had looked up the Panchang, consulted the Almanac, put in my request early and had committed his Pig-in-Pumpkin for the Thanksgiving get together by October end. Smart move eh?. The husband-man was notified the same well in advance. A week before Thanksgiving, we went in search of the perfect Pumpkin and none were to be found. After scouring through four different Whole Foods and couple of Farmer Markets, the right sized Pumpkin was finally brought home. The Pig was a way easier hunt.

Braised Pork in Pumpkin, Chef John

The original recipe is from Chef John as shared in AllRecipes. The husband-man has used Chef John's braising method and technique but his own blend spices. He has basically used the Goat Sukka Masala as his dry spice powder and marinated the meat with sharp stinging mustard oil, ginger-garlic paste and sliced red onion. He then followed the method as shared by Chef John.

The dish is really delicious, with the pork being cooked in the pumpkin for almost 4 hrs, the meat is tender and soft. The warm spices and sweetness from the pumpkin play together to bring a delicious flavor to the dish.

Goat Sukka masala

Pig In a Pumpkin with Indian spices -- from Chef John's Pumpkin-Braised pork 

Serves - 10-12
Prep Hours - 30 mins + overnight marination
Cook Time - 4 hours

Goat Sukka Masala


Whole Coriander seeds -- 2 Tbsp
Fennel seeds -- 2 tsp
Cumin seeds -- 2 tsp
Black peppercorn -- 2 tsp
Methi seeds - 1 tsp
Dry Red Chili -- 8

Main Dish Ingredients

Pork Shoulder/Butt - 3.5 lb 

For Marinating meat

1 Tbsp of Mustard oil
All of the dry spice powder
2 Tbsp of garlic paste
2 Tbsp of ginger paste
1 Onion thinly sliced
salt to taste

For Cooking

2 Tbsp AP flour
1 Tbsp Mustard Oil
1 Volleyball sized Pumpkin
2 Cups of Apple Cider  + more


Cut pork into large chunks. Place in a bowl. Add salt, ginger paste, garlic paste, onion, dry Goat Sukka Masala, Mustard Oil. Mix thoroughly and cover pork with parchment paper. Refrigerate to let flavors develop, 8 hours to overnight.

Lope off the top half of the pumpkin like a lid. Slowly cut all the way around to remove the 'lid'. Scrape seeds and fibers off the bottom of the lid and inside of the pumpkin using a large spoon or ice cream scoop.
Rinse out the pumpkin and set to dry

Start Cooking

Next Day Morning

Pre-heat oven to 350 F

Brush the pumpkin gently inside out with a few drops of mustard oil

Sprinkle flour on pork and mix to coat. Heat mustard oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork in 2 batches until browned, about 3 minutes per side.

Line the bottom of a baking pan with parchment paper and place pumpkin. Stuff the pumpkin with the browned pork; pour in cider. Cover with the top

Bake in Oven for almost 4 hours. Every 45 mins, take it out and pour cider if it dries up. Continue this until pork is cooked.

Braised Pork in Pumpkin | recipe card

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