The word vindaloo is a garbled pronunciation of the popular Portuguese dish carne de vinha d’alhos (meat marinated in wine-vinegar and garlic), which made its way to India in the 15th century along with Portuguese explorers. In Goa the dish was tweaked, incorporating chiles, tamarind, black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom. When it was exported to England, it became another hot curry, losing its vinegar tang and spice complexity, but this version stays close to the Goan original. It first appeared in our August/September 2014 special India issue with Lizzie Collingham’s story Fired Up.
- 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2″ pieces
- 1⁄3 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 (2″) piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. poppy seeds
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 6 chiles de árbol, stemmed
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 tbsp. tamarind paste
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 8 cloves garlic, 4 peeled, 4 roughly chopped
- 3 small red Thai chiles or 2 red jalapeños, stemmed
- 1⁄3 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
- 1 stick cinnamon, halved
- 2 small green Thai chiles or 1 serrano, halved
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 1 tsp. grated jaggery or brown sugar
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Toss pork, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Cook cumin and poppy seeds, peppercorns, chiles de árbol, and cloves in an 8″ skillet until seeds pop, 1–2 minutes. Let cool and transfer to a spice grinder; grind into a powder and add to pork. Purée tamarind paste, turmeric, peeled garlic, red chiles, and ginger in a food processor into a paste and add to pork. Toss to coat; cover and chill 4 hours.
- Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high; cook mustard seeds and cinnamon until seeds pop, 1–2 minutes. Add chopped garlic, green chiles, and onion; cook until slightly caramelized, 8–10 minutes. Stir in pork and its marinade; cook until paste begins to brown, 5–7 minutes. Add salt and 1 1⁄4 cups water; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until pork is tender, about 1 hour. Stir in jaggery; cook until thickened, 8–10 minutes.