Don’t let the fieriness of world-famous Vindaloo scare you to attempt it at home.
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If you have a mouth of steel and love the slow-tingling of flavoursome spices, your search stops at Pork Vindaloo. A good vindaloo is bursting with flavours, which go beyond just chillies. There is pepper, clove, other spices and vinegar, all of which come together to pack a serious punch. Vindaloo is known for its heat courtesy of the chillies, but it is balanced by the sweet and tangy tamarind.

Before we dig deeper into the origin of Vindaloo, it’s important to note that traditional Vindaloo doesn’t contain potatoes. It’s a misunderstanding because of ‘aloo’ in Vindaloo; aloo is also Hindi for potato. The etymological roots of the word Vindaloo is arne de vinha d'alhos (meat marinated in wine-vinegar and garlic). “The history of Vindaloo goes all the way back to the days when Portuguese sailors visiting India used to preserve their meat in wine and garlic for their food needs during their journey on the sea,” says Chef Edia Cotta from Alila Diwa Goa. It was only a matter of time, she adds, for the Goans to adopt the recipe and then incorporate their own uniqueness to it by adding chillies, tamarind, black pepper, cardamom and cinnamon. “This dish then went on to even gain popularity in Kerala, especially among the Anglo-Indian community, who then passed on the recipe through generations,” she further adds.

(Also read: How to make Goan Chicken Xacuti at home)

The Vindaloo spice paste is quite easy to make and stores well in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, thanks to the vinegar. Skip the water if you’re making a batch for future use. Chef Edia says, “Vindaloo can also be prepared with chicken, prawn, mutton or even beef.” All you’ve got to do is replace the meat with vegetables of your choice or simply turn to potatoes and mushrooms.

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Take notes as Chef Edia shares her lip-smacking Pork Vindaloo recipe:
What you need:

1/2 kg pork, cut into cubes
8 Kashmiri chillies
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
8–10 black peppercorns
7 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp turmeric powder
10 garlic flakes
1 small piece of fresh ginger
1/4 cup of Goan palm vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt, to taste
1 tsp sugar
3–4 medium sized onions, sliced thinly

Let's get started: 
1. Make a fine paste of the chillies, cumin seeds, peppercorns, garlic, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon using the vinegar instead of water.
2. Next, marinate your pork with this mixture and some salt. Let it rest it overnight, if possible to let the meat absorb all the amazing flavours.
3. When ready to cook, place a heavy bottomed wide vessel on heat, and throw in the sliced onions and the pork. Mix well. Do not add any oil or water as the pork tends to release fats, which will help cook everything. 
4. Let the vindaloo cook on a medium flame, stirring after every 15 to 20 minutes to ensure that it doesn’t burn. The pork should take around 45 to 60 minutes to cook.
5. Once done, add a teaspoon of sugar to it. At this point, it’s best to taste your vindaloo so that you can adjust the spiciness accordingly. It has to be tangy and hot with a tinge of sweetness.
6. Next, turn off the heat and let cool.

Note: The spices and the vinegar intensify over time, soaking into the meat, giving it its characteristic hot and tangy taste. Therefore, it’s best to store the pork vindaloo in the fridge for the next 2 to 3 days, before consuming it. Remember, the longer you store it, the better it will taste.

(Also watch: Easy Pork Vindaloo Recipe

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Chef Edia shares a few other tips:
When buying the pork, always opt for fresh meat that’s pinkish in colour, and has fat that’s firm and white. Fresh pork is best stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator, preferably the freezer, and should be wrapped in wax paper. Store it for no more than three days.
In case your vindaloo paste turns out to be extremely hot, you could rescue it by adding either sugar, lime juice or vinegar to temper the spiciness.
Pork vindaloo is best eaten with sannas (spongy steamed savoury rice cakes), and even plain rice, pulao or chapatis to give your mouth a cool down between those fiery bites. 

(Also read: How to make Goan Pork Sorpotel at home

Image: Shutterstock

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