1When our friends at Goa’s Casa Susegad offered to share their delicious pork vindaloo recipe with us, we jumped at the chance. But throw away any misconceptions you may have about this traditional Goan dish; rather than being searingly hot, it’s the perfect balance of spicy, sweet and sour.

One of the essential ingredients for the perfect vindaloo is palm vinegar (although it can be substituted for any strong fruit-based vinegar if you can’t get hold of it). It’s made by souring Toddy, which is the sap from the crown of a coconut tree.  The sap is collected daily by a Toddy Tapper, who climbs up each tree (often the height of a 3-story building) – arduous work. Barefoot and dressed only in shorts, Toddy Tappers are often easily distinguished by their huge, well-muscled hands.  The Toddy can be drunk fresh as a health aid, distilled to make palm feni, or kept to become palm vinegar.

Casa Susegad make their own palm vinegar. Their wonderful cook Joanita, whose own father was a Toddy Tapper, sources the Toddy, which is then stored in a huge glass jar known as a garrafao. It’s kept in a dark place for 6 months before being bottled for use throughout the coming year.

Pork vindaloo

This recipe serves 12, any leftover portions will freeze well.

Ingredients:

For the curry
3kg piece of pork (boned leg, skinned but keeping the fat)
3 full garlic bulbs, split into cloves (no need to peel)
4-5 inches of cleaned fresh ginger
1 heaped teaspoon of ground black pepper
1½ teaspoons of cloves
1½ teaspoons of mustard seeds
1½ teaspoons of cumin seeds
1½ teaspoons of turmeric
6 green cardamom pods
4 medium pieces of cinnamon bark
½ flat teaspoon of nutmeg
30 dried red chillies (Casa Susegad uses Kashmiri chillies)
3 tablespoons of sugar
4 teaspoons of salt
½ litre of palm vinegar
0.5kg of onions, peeled and sliced
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil

For the Goan pulau rice
1kg Basmati rice, rinsed and drained
Fresh water (set aside) of just under double the volume of the rice (1¾ cups of water to 1 cup rice)
5 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
6 cloves
3 green cardamom pods
1 medium cinnamon stick
1 garlic clove
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 good chicken stock cubes

For the Goan salad
¼ white cabbage, shredded
1 small white cucumber or about 1/3 large green cucumber, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
4 plum tomatoes, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
½ green pepper (capsicum), deseeded and thinly sliced
One handful of chopped fresh coriander
Juice of 2 limes or 1 lemon
Same quantity of palm vinegar
1 chopped green chilli
A little olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt

2

Method

For the curry
1. Cut the pork into ½ inch cubes, including as much of the fat as you want; it does make the dish better if the fat is included.
2. Blend all of the marinade ingredients to make a smooth paste and mix through the cubed meat. Cover and leave in the fridge for 1–2 hours.
3. Fry the onions until light golden brown. Add the pork and all of the marinade. Cover and simmer until liquid is released from the mix. This is the point at which you have to decide on the thickness of your sauce.  Most times, you will not need to add any water, but if your mix is quite dry, add just a little water for cooking.
4. Simmer until the meat is soft and tender.

7

For the Goan pulau rice
1. Fry the onion in the oil until soft but not browned, together with the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and garlic. When the onions are soft, add the tomatoes and fry until they are also soft. Add the crumbled stock cubes and stir through.  Add the rice and stir through over a low heat.
2. Add the measured water and bring to the boil. Simmer over a very low heat until the water is absorbed and the rice cooked. Check for seasoning and add salt if necessary (this depends on the salt in the stock cubes).

For the Goan salad
1. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing and set to one side.
2. Mix all of the salad ingredients just before serving, except for the coriander.
3. Remove the chopped chilli from the salad dressing and discard. Mix the remainder of the ingredients.
4. Mix the dressing into the salad and sprinkle with the chopped coriander to serve.

6

And finally… serve the vindaloo with pickles and curd (yoghurt). The curd will cut through the heat if anyone finds the dish a little hotter than they’re used to.

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