Slow-Cooker Goan Pork Vindaloo
In 1510, when the Portuguese invaded Goa, a region on the west coast of India, they brought with them a dish called carne de vinha d'alho, a sailors’ preserve of pork stored in wine vinegar and garlic. Goan cooks reimagined the dish with local ingredients, like cinnamon, black pepper and coconut palm vinegar, and it came to be called vindaloo. Chiles are always included, but the dish is not traditionally superhot. In this version, the pork benefits from slow cooking in the vinegar and spices, making marination unnecessary. The blender does double duty: It purées the aromatics and grinds the whole spices at the same time.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1large yellow or red onion, roughly chopped
- 10garlic cloves, peeled
- 2tablespoons finely chopped ginger (about a 2-inch length of peeled ginger)
- 1tablespoon black or brown mustard seeds
- 5whole cloves
- ½teaspoon black peppercorns
- Kosher salt
- 5green cardamom pods or ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds
- ½cup apple cider or coconut vinegar
- 1(3-inch) cinnamon stick
- 2packed tablespoons grated jaggery or light brown sugar, plus more to taste (see Tip)
- 2teaspoons ground cumin
- 2teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1tablespoon kashmiri chile powder (see Tip)
- ¼teaspoon ground cayenne, or to taste (optional)
- 3pounds boneless, skinless pork shoulder, cut into 2- to 3-inch chunks
- Cooked basmati rice, for serving
Step 1Combine the onion, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, cloves, peppercorns and 2½ teaspoons salt in a blender. Using the flat side of a chef’s knife, firmly press the cardamom pods so that they crack open. Put the seeds from each pod in the blender and discard the pods. (This yields about a heaping ¼ teaspoon of seeds.) Pour the vinegar into the blender. Blend, first on low until everything is combined, then on high, until the mixture is fully puréed and the whole spices are crushed, 30 seconds to 3 minutes depending on your blender. (You will see flecks of spices, but everything should be at least coarsely ground.)
Step 2Pour the puréed mixture into a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker. Stir in the cinnamon stick, jaggery, cumin, turmeric, chile powder and cayenne (if using). Add the pork and stir to evenly combine. Cover and cook on high until the flavors have blended, the oniony taste is no longer sharp, and the pork is very tender, about 5 hours.
Step 3Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Taste and add more salt or sugar if you like, before serving with warmed rice. The sauce will be rich and a little soupy, great for spooning over rice. If you prefer a thicker sauce, remove the pork from the slow cooker with a slotted spoon and put it in a serving dish. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Pour the reduced sauce over the pork and serve with warm rice.