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America's Test Kitchen: Goan Pork Vindaloo (Ep 2212)

Goan Pork Vindalooo SERVES 8

WHY THIS WORKS: The word “vindaloo” has evolved to indicate a searingly hot curry because of its adoption into British cuisine, but the original Goan dish is a brightly flavored but relatively mild pork braise made with dried Kashmiri chiles and plenty of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Vindaloo should have a pronounced vinegary tang, but we found that adding the vinegar at the beginning made the meat chalky. We withheld it until half- way through cooking so that we could use less but still enjoy the characteristic acidity. Moving the cooking from the stovetop to the oven made this dish hands-off and foolproof.


¾   cup water

1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced crosswise ⅛ inch thick

6    garlic cloves

3     tablespoons Kashmiri chile powder

1      tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons table salt

1     teaspoon pepper

¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

½    teaspoon ground cinnamon

½     teaspoon ground cardamom

¼    teaspoon ground cloves

¼     teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 (3-3½ pound) boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1     tablespoon vegetable oil

1      large onion, chopped fine

⅓    cup coconut vinegar

BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Kashmiri chile powder should have a brilliant red hue, a fruity flavor, and a slightly tannic edge, but very little heat. If you can’t find it, stem and seed 1 ounce of guajillo chiles (about 4 large chiles) and tear them into 1-inch pieces; place in a bowl, cover with ¾ cup boiling water, and let sit until softened, about 10 minutes. Add soaked chiles, their liquid, and 2 teaspoons black tea leaves (for tannic flavor) to the blender in step 1 (omit ¾ cup water). Cider vinegar can be used in place of the coconut vinegar. Pork butt roast is often labeled Boston butt. Goan vindaloo is not very spicy, but if you prefer more heat, add up to ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Serve with white rice, naan, or Goan pao.

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Process water; ginger; garlic; chile powder; paprika; cumin; salt; pepper; cayenne, if using; cinnamon; cardamom; cloves; and nutmeg in blender on low speed until rough paste forms, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides and blend on high speed until paste is smooth, about 1 minute. Place pork in large bowl. Add spice paste and mix thoroughly.

2. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and golden, 7 to 9 minutes. Add pork mixture and stir to combine. Spread mixture into even layer. Continue to cook until mixture begins to bubble, about 2 minutes longer. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook for 40 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Cover, return pot to oven, and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook until fork inserted into pork meets little or no resistance, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Let stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir and serve. (Pork can be cooked up to 3 days in advance.)

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Photo Credit: America’s Test Kitchen