Friday, June 4, 2010

Pork Vindaloo (aka Pork Curry with Potatoes)

SO.... it's been awhile. There have been some MASSIVE changes in my life. I graduated with my MBA! I'll spare you the gory details of the other changes, but suffice to say, I moved back to Tampa and am turning the page on to a new chapter in my life.

The majority of you know the past month and a half for me, and it's been a struggle to get out of bed in the morning, let alone cook something, and even more, photograph myself while I'm cooking. Needless to say, I've been eating a LOT of crappy take-out. BUT, before I left Orlando, I had my best friends over, and made them my favorite dish in the world: pork vindaloo (basically pork and potato curry). I've been wanting to share this dish with you since I started my blog, because it's one of my kitchen staples. My godmother taught my how to make it, and it's turned into my comfort food. (Don't get my wrong, I still LOVE me some potato salad.) My godmother is my world. And, coincidentally, the past few months have been rough for her too.

So, today, I'll teach you how to make my favorite dish. (I apologize in advance, I forgot to take pictures of some of the steps.) And, I hope that you can serve it to your family with as much love as my godmother has shown to me over the years.

Pork Vindaloo
{Okay, so I'll come clean up front: I don't REALLY have a set recipe for this. It just kind of happens. BUT, I am willing to give ANY of you, one-on-one lessons in MY kitchen if you really want the goods.}

Also, this is pretty much the only recipe I do a complete mise en place for. (I know, judge me now. But I kind of like the adrenaline that comes from doing everything last minute!) "Mise en place" means that before you start cooking, you get all your ingredients cut/diced/washed/prepped and ready to go. So for this that means:

Roughly chop one onion

Chop one pork tenderloin (I take the fat off mine and then chop into bite-sized pieces). If you aren't into pork, you can totally use chicken, beef or lamb. Use whatever you have on hand!

Open one 12 oz. can of diced tomatoes (it's okay if they are flavored, it all comes out in the wash). Don't drain!

Peel & chop 1-2 potatoes (depending how big they are, make sure the chunks are similar in size) Also, with the potatoes, after I chop them, I put them in water to avoid oxidation (what happens when some veggies are cut and left out--aka when apples brown--the same thing happens to potatoes, but if you submerge them in water you are in the clear! And you get a really starchy water that'll come in handy later!)

So, first, saute the onion with some olive oil (just a few swirls around the pan), until the onion is softened and almost translucent. At this point, you can also add in some whole mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds. I just started doing this recently, and it really gives the curry a delicious flavor.

Then, you want to add the curry paste. You can get this at Indian Groceries, or I've even found it at Walmart! It might even be in Publix, I haven't checked. You want to get either the kind that says Vindaloo, or just the plain curry paste. I'm sure that the other kinds are TOTALLY fine to use too, I just haven't had to experiment with them yet, because the store I got to always has the kinds I need.

I usually use a mix of mild and spicy. It never turns out super spicy, but if you REALLY want, you can add more (or all) spicy and less (or none) mild, or vice versa if you can't handle the spice. I put a heaping tablespoon of each kind to start with, then adjust depending on who I'm cooking for. Usually for me, I use two large tablespoons of the spicy, and just one of the mild. But like I said, do whatever YOU like. There's no wrong way to do it. If it's too spicy the first time, just adjust the next time.

So, smush the curry paste around with the onions and let cook for a few minutes. By this time, your kitchen will be smelling like an Indian restaurant-YUM!

After letting the paste cook a little, add in the pork and brown. It's okay if it's not cooked all the way through at this point, just make sure all the pink on the outsides are gone.

Next, pour in the can of tomatoes, and let cook for a few more minutes.

Then add in the potatoes without the water. Just grab them from the water with your hands, and save the water. The mixture will be very chunky at this point, so pour in some of the water until the potatoes are covered. It's okay if it's watery, we'll deal with that later!

At this point, cover your pot and let the curry come to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, or until the pork and potatoes are cooked through. (This is when I put on the rice, too.)

While the curry is cooking, I get my slurry ready. (Slurry is just a fancy word for a mixture of water and corn starch.) I use about 1/2 cup of COLD water (it MUST be cold, or else things are gonna get ugly, fast.) and a few generous tablespoons of corn starch. Whisk both together so the mixture is smooth. After the potatoes and pork are cooked, add in the slurry (stir one more time before adding in, it tends to settle a little). Make sure the curry is still boiling. At this point, you'll start to notice the liquid getting thicker. Stir the slurry in through the curry, and the watery curry will turn into a rich thick curry.

Pour over basmati rice and enjoy!!

One pork loin will make about 4-5 generous servings, and this just gets better the day after. I usually make lunch portions and put in the refrigerator for easy lunches. But you can also freeze the curry if you won't be eating it within a few days.

Hope this explanation was sufficient! Please let me know if you have any questions or I missed any important details. :o) I hope you love this as much as I do!!

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