Updated: Oct 19
by Mallika Basu from Masala: Indian Cooking for Modern Living (Bloomsbury)
Photography © Issy Croker
Fiery, sour & sweet, vindaloo nods to Goa’s Portuguese heritage. Vindaloo literally translates as ‘wine’ (vinho) and ‘garlic’ (a’hlos). Despite its Portuguese origin, the Indian love for chillies and our indigenous ingredients slowly made their way into the dish. Bengalis cook it too, as a result of a brief fling with Portuguese colonialists; so irresistible is this dish that the Parsi community have also adopted it.
I roped in my American friend Adam to help work out how to make pulled pork with vindaloo paste. The result is a fork-shredded feast that is just as good tucked into a bun as with steamed rice & a Parsi Coconut Dal (see recipe below) and some yoghurt to balance out the heat. While vindaloo should be fiery, it is not meant to blow your head off, so adjust the chillies accordingly.
1.2-1.3kg boneless pork shoulder joint
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 tbsp oil
½ tsp salt
For the Vindaloo Paste
16 dried red Kashmiri chillies
2-4 whole dried red chillies
2 tsp cumin seeds
10cm cinnamon stick
8 whole black peppercorns
8 large garlic cloves
2.5cm fresh root ginger
4 tbsp coconut or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 tsp soft light brown sugar
1 tsp ground turmeric
First make the vindaloo paste. Put the dried chillies, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and cloves into a warm frying pan and dry-roast over a medium heat, gently shaking the pan until you can smell their aromas in the air. This will take 2-3 mins. Remove from the heat and set aside.
When cool, tip these, along with the garlic, ginger, vinegar, tamarind paste, sugar and 125ml (½ cup) cold water into a small blender and blitz until smooth. Tip it out into a bowl and add the ground turmeric and salt to your taste – it’s best not to put the turmeric into the blender or you’ll turn it yellow! If not using the paste straight away, transfer to an airtight container, cover the surface with oil and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Next prepare the pork. Line a baking tray with two long sheets of extra-wide kitchen foil, crossing them over each other. Remove the string holding the joint together and put the pork skin side down on top of the foil. Slather the paste all over the pork, pushing it into every open crevice. Wrap the pork in the foil, sealing well, and marinate in the fridge overnight.
When you are ready to cook, remove the joint from the fridge and carefully unwrap it. Toss the sliced onions in 2 tablespoons of the oil and drop them on top of the pork. Pour over the remaining oil, sprinkle on the salt and re-wrap the joint in the foil. Leave the pork to come to room temperature while you pre-heat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.
Shove the wrapped joint in the oven and cook for 3½ hrs until the pork falls apart when prodded with a fork. Unwrap the top of the foil, spoon over some of the juices and return to the oven to brown, uncovered, for another 20 mins.
Shred the joint with two forks, mixing in the spices and oils that have oozed onto the bottom of the foil parcel. The fat will have melted into the meat. Any bits that are stuck to the foil can be discarded.
TIP For a larger joint (1.8 – 2.2kg), simply increase the ingredients by 50 percent and use the same cooking times.
The perfect antidote to a spicy meal, this creamy & subtle dal hails from the Parsi community. The Persian Zoroastrians first arrived in Gujarat where they adopted the state’s love of sweet and sour into their own cuisine. I first discovered it on Jeroo Mehta’s 101 Parsi Recipes, my introduction to cooking the community’s incredible cuisine, in which it is described as ‘an unusual way to cook lentils’.
With Worcestershire sauce and vinegar accompanying the coconut milk that goes into it, this dal really is unusual. While red lentils (masoor) are more typical, you can replace them with skinless yellow lentils.
185g (1 cup) red split lentils
2 tbsp oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ tsp chilli powder
1½ tsp paprika
1½ tsp ground cumin
Full kettle of freshly boiled water
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk (at least 75% coconut)
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Wash the lentils in a sieve under the cold tap until the water runs clear, then leave them to sit.
Pour the oil into a medium pan and place over a high heat. When it’s hot, add the onions and sauté for 5 mins until softened. Add the garlic and stir through for another 5 mins until golden. Now, tip in the chilli powder, paprika & cumin. Sauté this for another 2 mins, adding a splash of water if it starts sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Next, stir the lentils into the pan. Add 750ml (3 cups) hot water and bring to the boil, then cook over a medium-high heat for 20 mins, stirring regularly. If the dal dries up too much and starts hissing and spitting, you can add another cup of water.
When the time is up, lower the heat to low-medium and stir in the coconut milk, sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt to taste and simmer for 5 mins. While it’s simmering, use the wooden spoon to smash the lentils against the sides of the pan to get a smoother texture. Serve hot.