This faster cooking Pork Vindaloo is delicious and gets dinner on the table in under an hour. A copy of Pure Pork Awesomeness was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links have been used in this post to link to items I am discussing.
This is the fifth incarnation of vindaloo on this site. Apparently I have a thing for Indian spices mixed with vinegar! So you may be wondering why this one? Honestly this was a case of using a dish I am familiar with to see how a Southern chef would interpret the classic (and a case of loving vindaloo so much that I am always game for trying another one). It was quite good–but if you are looking for my favorite vindaloo, head over to my Restaurant Style Vindaloo after reading this review.
This vindaloo is from Kevin Gillespie’s Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World; some of you may recall my review of his earlier book, Fire In My Belly. My main complaint with that book was that I wanted to see more of an international influence, so imagine my excitement when I saw that his new book was all about international influences! The book is sturdy paperback, but otherwise is every bit as much a coffee table book as his first one was–gorgeous photos, friendly, interesting writing. It took me a while to get this recipe up, but that is only because there are so many choices I am excited about: Mustard-Braised Pork Shoulder; Korean Barbecued Pork Bulgogi; Red Chile Posole; Sichuan-Style Twice-Cooked Pork Belly; Vietnamese Spareribs with Chile and Lemongrass… the list goes on.
I realize I damned this Pork Vindaloo with faint praise a little bit up at the top, but let me explain. First, this dish is delicious. We ate every last drop. I thought Gillespie went a little high on the black peppercorns and that he should have added some form of sweetener to the dish itself (rather than leaving as a garnish), and I have written the recipe that way. But these could just be personal preferences, and as I say we definitely ate every last drop. Second, I like vindaloo–and many Indian curries with meat–best when they have a strong savory component. So a slow cooking chuck, as used in my Restaurant Style Vindaloo, makes a much “meatier” vindaloo than a fast cooking pork loin. I might have enjoyed a pork shoulder version better. Once again, it could be a matter of taste–and this one does at least have the benefit of cooking quickly.
- 1 lb boneless pork loin, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1/2 cup malt or cider vinegar (I used cider)
- 1 2-inch Ceylon cinnamon stick
- 1 T heaping black peppercorns
- 1 T cumin seeds
- 1 T coriander seeds
- 1 T fennel seeds
- 3 T paprika or other mild chile pepper powder of choice
- 1 T red pepper flakes (I left out)
- 1 t turmeric
- 1/4 t ground cardamom
- 1/4 t ground cloves
- 1 fresh jalapeño, stem removed (I left out)
- 1 3-inch piece of ginger, washed, peeled if needed (I only peel the bad spots) and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
- 1 cup (about 3-4 large) diced shallots
- 4-6 T neutral vegetable oil (I used avocado)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 6 inch small boiling potatoes, cut into 1/2- dice (peel if you prefer, I never do), like a redskin or Yukon Gold
- 1 t sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1-2 t garam masala
- 1-2 T brown sugar or honey, or to taste
- Basmati rice or flatbread
- Greek yogurt
- cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
Toss the pork loin with the vinegar and set aside.
Toast the whole spices over medium heat. Begin with the cinnamon stick, and after a minute add the peppercorns. After another minute or so, add the faster toasting cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Let it all toast, shaking the pan occasionally, until darkened and fragrant, but not burnt, a few minutes. Then transfer to a spice grinder and let them cool. When they are cool, grind them finely. Mix in the already ground spices and set aside.
Place the ginger, garlic and jalapeño in a small food processor. Process until finely chopped.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the diced shallots with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, until starting to caramelize. Add the ginger and garlic mixture. Cook, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the spice mixture and stir (spices can burn, so keep the spices moving to roast evenly). Cook for about 30-60 seconds this way.
Add the pork with the vinegar and stir to evenly coat the pork with spices. Then add the chicken stock, potatoes and the one teaspoon of salt. Increase the heat to bring to a boil, and then cover and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are mostly tender. Then remove the lid and increase the heat a bit to continue simmering. When the sauce breaks and the oil starts to separate, you're done (should be 5 minutes or less).
Mix in 1 teaspoon of garam masala and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and taste for more of either or more salt. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Serve with flatbread or Basmati rice, and offer yogurt on the side, as well as cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for anyone who wants it spicier.
And here is a fun Pinterest collage for anyone who likes them!