Monday, September 22, 2014

Kerala style Pork Curry - Memories of an awesome childhood.

I was born and raised in a family of great cooks and grew up with wonderful neighbors and family friends who were excellent cooks too. S Aunty was the one who exposed my taste buds for the first time to the magic of deliciously decadent Trichur style of cooking. Every Easter and Christmas, her family would start their hard work in kitchen early, to create a feast fit for a king and we were fortunate to be invited to be a part of their celebrations.
We would pig out on Pork, Beef and Chicken, prepared at least two ways with Raitas, rice, rotis and veggie  preparations (that sadly, I cant remember, but yet very delicious) all washed down with one small glass of the sweetest Goan port wine that us kids were allotted.
That is where I was reborn as a true non-veg foodie enthusiast after my years of trying my hand at Vegan and Vegetarian lifestyles, at that tender age. (Thanks mostly to butchering videos promoted by Maneka Gandhi on television).
Anyways, S Aunty's cooking and the sweet memories we spent together as one big family, stayed with us even after the families changed homes and moved away, then to different parts of the country. Christmases and Easter were never the same again.
Mom wouldn't cook beef or pork in her kitchen, so I and my brother's only hope of sating our beef or pork cravings would be to order it from eateries but then there was no one who would cook it like hers.
And there came a time when I almost gave up pork because it never measured up to the good stuff we were used to.
I came to U.S and one of the best things here was the availability of great cuts of meat, easily. That is when that cravings I put behind me years back came back with a vengeance. I started experimenting with the memory of tastes I had and my own logic for help. I also had notes from the times I picked Aunty's brain on our visits to Trichur.
This curry is still not as yummy as what she made but yes, it is one of the simplest and most delicious ways to prepare pork. The gravy can be thickened or made dry as a fry. The onions cook down and give this dish a heavenly sweetness that no other ingredient can give it, coupled with the aroma of the other green ingredients. A pork belly is the recommended cut for this recipe and needs to be slow cooked for about 2-3 hours. Due to my health needs, I have used top loins which are the leanest cuts of pork and they end up dry if overcooked. So I have cooked it on low for about 45 minutes.
So adjust your cooking time accordingly.
Also it tastes even better the next day. So leftovers can cause family advised! ;-)

3 lbs pork, cut into cubes
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (or Paprika)
1 tbsp coriander powder
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 large onions, sliced thin
1 tbsp crushed ginger
1 tbsp crushed garlic
6-7 chopped green chillies
2 sprigs curry leaves
10-12 cloves, 3 green cardamoms and 2 " piece of cinnamon, toasted lightly and ground into a powder.
1 tbsp + 1 tbsp of oil

Method of Preparation:-

Mix together the pork cubes, salt, chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric and leave in in the fridge to marinate.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a dutch oven and saute the onions in it until softened. Add the green chillies, ginger, garlic and curry leaves. Let it get slightly browned and aromatic, in a low fire.
In another shallow pan, heat the other tbsp of oil and sear the pork without crowding them. Do it in batches if necessary.
Add the seared pork cubes into the onion mix. Deglaze the  searing pan with 1 cup of water and add into the onion mix.
Stir everything well, cover and bring to a boil. Add half of the ground spice mix. Now, reduce the fire and cook until the pork is done. Fattier or bone-in cuts may need more time, but loin or other lean cuts may be ready in as few as 15-20 minutes.
In the last 15 minutes of cooking, increase heat, remove lid and stir continously and get the gravy thickened to your preference. Check salt and adjust if needed. Stir in the remaining ground spices and remove from fire. Enjoy!

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