Pork Indad is one of those classic Indian dishes, that truly is a combination of communities that have made India the cultural melting pot that it is. Originally derived from the vindalho, pork indad is similar dish, but one that is made by the Mangalorean Catholic community.
These, technically, are some unusual flavours for South India, mint, for example, and rum. This is the influence of the Portuguese community, and results in a dish that takes in Portuguese ingredients and marries them to Indian spices. The resulting combination is a heavenly one, of tender melt-in-your-mouth pieces of pork, enveloped in a sweet/ spicy sauce, with the heady aromas of mint and a good kick of rum at the end.
This one of my absolute favourite pork dishes. I used to carry it all the way to Delhi when I was at University there... a whole three days on the train, nibbling at it every so often. I always promised my friends the taste of pork indad, and sadly, none would remain by the time I actually got to the hostel. Burp.
Pork indad is a traveller's dish. The meat is first salted, and then cooked to the point of preservation, after which a good glug of rum is added at the end in order to 'preserve' the meat even more, and make it suitable for carrying on long journeys. Today, pork indad is synonymous with the Catholic community, with each household boasting their very own recipes. This is a recipe that was originally given to me by my mom, who makes a really delicious indad. Over the years, I have refined it, using techniques that I learned at work, and while the method is not strictly traditional, the taste absolutely is spot on.
I am reposting this recipe, as I recently made it again for my uncle, an ardent foodie and food historian, and we ran through the recipe, making a few more tweaks as we went along. My mother actually ground the ingredients for the sauce in her giant mortar and pestle, and I'll be honest, that is one aspect of this dish that really cannot be replicated with a mixer, as I have found to my cost. Canadian airlines do frown on excess baggage though, so I sadly have to leave the heavy beast behind :)
1 kg pork shoulder, marbled with fat and cut into 1 - 2 inch chunks.
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unscented oil
25 ml dark rum
10 long mild red chillies, preferably Kashmiri
1 teaspoon whole cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper
1/2 teaspoon whole cinnamon sticks or cassia bark
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
2 large onions, chopped
Thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
12 garlic cloves, crushed
1 green bird's eye chili, chopped
1 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
25 ml white or red wine vinegar
Small handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
50 ml of water, if required + an extra 1/2 cup beef stock or water
Fresh mint leaves
50 ml dark rum
Salt and sugar to taste
Salt the pork and keep aside for about half hour.
In a heavy pan, dry roast the chillies, cumin, pepper, cinnamon and cloves, one by one, for about 30 second to a minute, until fragrant. Blend until finely powdered.
In the same pan, dry fry the onion for a few minutes until the raw smell has disappeared and the onions are very lightly toasted.Add the ginger and garlic, and fry for another minute. Remove to a blender, and add the green chili, tamarind, vinegar and mint leaves. Process to a fine paste. Add the spice mix, and blend until well mixed. Add a splash of water to help the process, if required.
Heat the oil in a a heavy based pot. Add the salted pork slices, and fry on a high heat, in batches, until the meat is caramelised and sealed. Remove to a plate, leaving any rendered fat behind.
Deglaze the pot with the rum. Add the onion-spice paste to the pot, and saute for a few minutes, scraping up any caramelised bits. Turn down the heat, and fry this masala for about 15 minutes, stirring often. The oil and fat will start to separate at this point. Season with a little salt.
Add the 1/2 cup water or stock to the pot and simmer gently, until the sauce is quite thick.
Gently lower the fried pork into the sauce. Bring to a gentle boil, then stir until the slices are well coated with the masala. Add a little more water, if required, and simmer the pork on a low heat for at least an hour, topping up with more water is the sauce looks dry. The meat should be fork tender once it is cooked and the sauce should be thick, but not dry.
Season generously with the salt and sugar to taste, then stir in the rum.
Simmer for a few more minutes, then take off the heat and garnish with the fresh mint leaves.
This dish tastes best if made a day ahead, and left to mature in the fridge. Reheat and serve with sannas, pulav rice or fresh bread.