Many things India-related escape me. I don't get cricket. I've only been to two yoga classes so my cosmic consciousness probably isn't quite where it should be. I've never seen a Bollywood movie....I didn't even see Slumdog Millionaire. Beef is apparently unacceptable. But the rest of the food...my universal language of choice...now that I get!
From chef David Anderson of Portland's Vindalho Restaurant, this pork vindalho is absolutely sensational. I first tasted this amazing subcontinent creation at a beer dinner I attended at Vindalho and was enthralled. Why? First off it's braised pork shoulder, my current favorite cut of meat. Add to that an amazing melange of freshly toasted and ground spices (in the pic at left) that are the definition of sensory overload, give it all a few hours in the oven for magical things to happen and prepare for feelings of intense pleasure. For some working on their yoga sastra will help them connect. For me the path to true enlightenment is marked with platefuls of vindalho!
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From David Anderson/Vinadlho Restaurant
1/2 ounce dried arbol chilies, stems removed
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons fenugreek seed
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in the mortar
1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
Toast chilies and the whole spices separately.
Cool and combine in a bowl. Grind together in
a coffee grinder.
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, sliced (about 2 cups)
¾ cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne
5 pounds boneless pork shoulder,
cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
3 cups water
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and fry until brown and caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. Drain the onions and cool on a plate. Puree onions in the blender with a splash of the vinegar to form a smooth paste. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add ground spices, turmeric, cayenne, and the rest of the vinegar and blend together.
EATER'S NOTE: This dish kicked ass right off the bat, but we finished it two nights later and it was even better. The spices and other flavors all came together beautifully. So I would think it might be best, if you can plan it, to make it one day and have it the next. I reheated it at 350* for about 30-40 minutes.