Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spicy Pork Vindaloo

Spicy Pork Vindaloo

Kinda, sorta like Indian chili con carne

Vindaloo has an incendiary reputation. But no worries if you’re heat-adverse — it’s easy to tame this dish by lightening up on the chile.

Which means you can share this vindaloo with even the most finicky dinner guests (and the flavor is so good, you’ll want to). You can also tell them that pork is really, truly authentic in this dish (more on that below). The vindaloos they’ve had in restaurants are copycats. They’ll feel honored to be at your table.




Spicy Pork Vindaloo

Recipe: Spicy Pork Vindaloo

In restaurants, you rarely see this dish made with pork (most of India’s population is Hindu or Muslim, and pork just isn’t a dish they tend to consume). Restaurants often serve vindaloo made with lamb, beef, or chicken.

But vindaloo was created in Goa, an area in western India. It was settled by Portuguese Christians, who do eat pork. They developed vindaloo from a Portuguese dish that used a wine- and garlic-based marinade.

Because this dish is spicy, and contains mainly meat and chilies, it reminds us a bit of an Indian Chili con Carne (the kind made without beans). Chili con carne literally means “chilies with meat,” and that’s what vindaloo is all about. The spicing is different, of course, and vindaloo doesn’t have as much sauce as chili. But both have a fiery, downhome goodness that we find extremely satisfying.

This dish has a long ingredients list. That’s because it requires a lot of different spices to make the paste that flavors the meat. Don’t have some of the spices on hand? No problem — just skip them. The critical ones are coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne, and paprika.

This dish traditionally is served over fluffy white rice. Or with an Indian bread like naan. If using rice, we like to serve Aromatic Yellow Rice — both the flavor and the color really complement the vindaloo.

This vindaloo is even better served over our easy Oven Polenta (we suggest skipping the cheese in the recipe) or Grits (again, skip the cheese). Neither of these options is traditional, but the spicy vindaloo combines wonderfully with the cornmeal in polenta or grits. (BTW, in the pictures we are using polenta.)

Prep time for this dish is about 30 minutes. Add an hour to let the meat marinate, then another 2 hours to brown the meat and let it simmer. This isn’t a quick recipe, but most of the cooking time is unattended.

This dish yields about 8 servings. Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.

Ingredients
  • 1½ teaspoons black or brown mustard seeds (not yellow; see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom 
  • 2 teaspoons dried ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons dried ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper (to taste; see Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (preferably Hungarian hot paprika)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (half that if using regular table salt; see Notes)
  • 5 tablespoons vinegar (we like cider vinegar, but white or rice vinegar will also work well)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar 
  • 1 onion (medium or large)
  • 2-inch piece of ginger root
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves (to taste)
  • ~2½ pounds boneless pork shoulder (a bit more or less is OK)
  • ~2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (not traditional, but we like it)
  • ½ cup water 
  • 1 red bell pepper for garnish (optional)
  • ~1 cup frozen peas for garnish (optional)
  • serve with rice, Indian bread, polenta, or grits (see Headnote)
Procedure
  1. Using a spice grinder or a clean coffee grinder, grind the mustard seeds and pepper corns to a fine powder. (Note: If any of the other spices you’re using are in whole rather than ground form—like cumin, coriander, or cardamom seed, for example—grind them in this step too.)
  2. Pour the powdered spices into a small bowl, then add the pre-ground spices (cardamom, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and paprika), along with the kosher salt. Mix all the ingredients together. Add the vinegar and brown sugar. Mix again, then set aside.
  3. Peel the onion, ginger root, and garlic. Chop all of them coarsely. Then pulse them in a mini-food processor until they form a paste.
  4. Add the spice/vinegar mixture (from Step 2) to the mini-food processor, and pulse until the paste is well blended.
  5. Trim the pork shoulder of excess fat, then cut into cubes of about 1 inch. Place the pieces in a bowl, then add the spice paste from Step 4. Rub the pork so that each piece is covered with the spice paste. Allow the pork pieces to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. (See Notes if you want to complete this step ahead of time.)
  6. Place a 4- to 6-quart saucepan (one with a heavy bottom; or use a Dutch oven) over medium stovetop heat. When it’s hot, add the oil. When the oil is heated (it’ll shimmer), add as many pork chunks as will fit comfortably in the bottom of the pan. Brown each pork piece on all sides (this will take 6 or 7 minutes). Lower the heat if necessary—you don’t want to burn the spice paste. When the pork pieces are browned, remove them from the pan and allow them to drain on paper towels. Then add more pork pieces to the pan, browning in batches. Continue until all the pork pieces are browned (add more oil to the pan if necessary).
  7. Return the browned pork pieces to the cooking pot. Add the diced tomato and water. Bring the mixture to a low simmer, then cover the pan. Allow the mixture to cook for 1½ hours. Stir it every half hour or so, and check on the liquid level. Most of the liquid should evaporate as the dish cooks, but a small amount should remain (you want just a bit of sauce), so add more water if necessary.
  8. Meanwhile, clean the red bell pepper and cut it into dice of about 1 inch.
  9. After the pork has been cooking for 1½ hours (Step 7), test to make sure it’s tender. If it’s not, cook another half hour. Adjust seasoning if necessary. About 10 minutes before serving, add the red bell pepper pieces (from Step 8) to the cooking pot. About 5 minutes before serving, add the frozen peas to the cooking pot.
  10. Dish it up!
Spicy Pork Vindaloo
Pork Vindaloo served with Indian Carrot Salad with mustard seeds

Notes
  • You can prepare this recipe through Step 5 several hours ahead of the time you begin to cook the dish (in Step 6). Rather than let the meat sit out at room temperature as directed in Step 5, cover the bowl containing the meat with shrink wrap, and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Then proceed with the recipe in Step 6.
  • This dish traditionally is made with tamarind paste, which gives vindaloo its characteristic “sour” flavor. It’s not an ingredient that most of us have on hand, however (and not always easy to find), so we’ve omitted it from our recipe. If you happen to have some, add a tablespoon or so in Step 7 when you add the tomato and water.
  • Don’t skip the sugar in this dish. In combination with the vinegar, it helps mimic the flavor of tamarind.
  • Indian mustard seeds are black or brown (either will do in this recipe). Don’t use the yellow mustard seeds that are more common in western supermarkets. If you can’t find black or brown mustard seeds, just omit them.
  • Cayenne pepper is hot stuff (literally). So adjust the amount to your taste. If you’re wondering about the amount we suggest, start with just a teaspoon. Taste the dish after it’s cooked for ½ hour or so, and then add more if desired.
  • Instead of cayenne pepper, you could add several Thai chiles or chiles de árbol (stem them and grind them with the spices in Step 1). Or use Kashmiri red chile powder (which would be more traditional). 
  • Hungarian hot paprika has flavoring similar to that of Kashmiri chile powder, so we suggest using it in this recipe. If you don’t have Hungarian hot paprika, just use regular paprika—this dish will still taste fine.
  • We use kosher salt in our kitchen (sea salt at table). Kosher salt has bigger flakes than table salt, so it doesn’t fill a measuring spoon as “tightly.” Hence, it’s less salty by volume. If you’re using regular table salt, use only half as much as we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
  • The red bell pepper and green-pea garnishes are not part of the original recipe for this dish. But they look and taste good, so we like to add them.
  • Restaurants often include potatoes in this dish. They weren’t in the original Goan version, but they’re a nice addition. We suggest using waxy (boiling) potatoes. Just cut the potatoes into cubes and pre-cook, then add them to the dish during the last half hour of cooking.
  • You can substitute lamb or beef for the pork in this dish. Cooking time may be a bit longer—just keep testing, and cook until done.
Spicy Pork Vindaloo


Curry Up

“Yum,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “You really spiced this well.”

“Yup, I lost count of the number of spices I put in the paste,” I said. “But hey, spice is the variety of life.”

“Oh, for cayenne out loud,” said Mrs K R.

“So I guess we’re going to pepper each other with puns again?” I said.

“If you’ve got the thyme, I’ve got some sage words,” said Mrs K R.

Probably better stop now though. Don’t want to make a big dill of this.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Texas-Style Chili con Carne
Tandoori Chicken
Aromatic Yellow Rice
Easy No-Stir Oven Polenta
Cheesy Grits
Spicy Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic
Indian Carrot Salad with Mustard Seeds
Pink Dal with Swiss Chard
Or check out the index for more recipes

106 comments:

  1. Several types of tamarind were on sale at a Southeast Asian grocery store near me when I looked around there recently (because it's next door to a bike shop, that's why).

    I didn't know what I would do with any of them, so I didn't buy any. Maybe your post is a clue about what they are good for. I have always heard that authentic Worcestershire sauce has tamarind in it (Lea & Perrins does, according to Wikipedia). And that it's another possible substitute. Have you tried that?

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, I often see tamarind paste, tamarind pulp, and dried tamarind pods at Asian stores. Tamarind paste is what you want to buy -- it's ready to use right from the jar. We have some, but most people don't, so we wrote the recipe without it (the flavor is just slightly different). Worcestershire sauce does indeed have tamarind in it, although its flavor profile wouldn't quite work in this dish. Although probably we should try it sometime just to test that! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. All the spices in this sound like heaven! I love playing with different spice combinations and discovering the possibilities!

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    1. Hi Laura, one of the best things about Indian cooking is the spices. So many, and so good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Loving your Indian recipes, John! I've never made Vindaloo before only because I end up cooking Hyderabadi stuff all the time. I need to venture out a little! Goan food is spicy but because of the Portuguese, I love the variation on the traditional. This looks wonderful but of course, I'd have to make it with chicken or lamb. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Hi Nazneen, this dish works well with chicken or lamb. Particularly lamb, I think. Definitely worth a try. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Vindaloo reminds me of grade school when on Friday nights we would order take out (my family) I would order Japanese and my dad would order Indian and always get the Vindaloo! And I would steal the NAAN lol!

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    1. Hi GiGI, naan is definitely worth stealing! Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Your vindaloo looks so delicious! I adore vindaloo but had no idea it was developed from a from a "Portuguese dish that used a wine and garlic based marinade" by Portuguese Christians in Goa! I always manage to learn something new when I come visit - sage nuggets of wisdom indeed!

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    1. Hi Shashi, I was surprised at the history of this dish too. Interesting, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Looks like a very tasty dish. Tender meal with flavorful sauce, I would love a bit of it.

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    1. Hi Holly, very tasty! And SO good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Thank goodness I do not have any dietary restrictions and I can make this exactly as written. We love spicy so this is perfect for my little tribe.

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    1. Hi Karen, this is definitely spicy. So you'll love it! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. This dish sounds wonderful. We love a good spicy meal and served on polenta I bet it is fantastic. I think I have almost everything except the mustard seeds. I will have to check those out and load me up on the cayenne! The hotter the better :) Thanks John

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    1. Hi Tricia, you don't need the black mustard seeds for this dish, but they do add some nice flavor. And one can never have enough cayenne! Thanks for the comment.

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  9. WoW! John, that looks amazing. I just bet that it tastes wonderful, too. Yes, it is a long ingredient list with all those spices but then that is what gives it such flavor! Thanks for sharing this :)

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    1. Hi Pat, that long ingredient list is definitely worth it! The flavor is wonderful. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. It's cooling down here, actually, its already flannel PJ, heater weather here so my dinners include delicious, hearty, warming feeds like your pork vindaloo. Love that this recipe can easily be modified to work with my stoopid dietary requirements. Great recipe John, can't wait to try. :)

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    1. Hi Anna, this recipe comes at the perfect time for your weather! We're still having enough cool nights that it works here, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Hi John, this looks so full of flavor, love the spices that you used and what a great idea to serve on polenta.

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    1. Hi Cheri, polenta works SO well with vindaloo! They're really made for each other. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. I LOVE vindaloo! This is one of my favourite Indian dishes, I think it is so tasty! Finny I have never had Pork Vindaloo, I always choose beef, it must be tie for me to mix things up a little!
    Thanks so much for sharing
    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

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    1. Hi Julie, you don't really see pork vindaloo that much -- usually beef or lamb. But pork is great in this dish! Thanks for the comment.

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  13. I love the history lesson on the dish! And interesting idea serving it with polenta, sounds pretty tasty to me!

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    1. Hi Mary, the polenta really is a nice touch, we think. Great combo of flavors. Thanks for the comment.

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  14. My youngest has expanded his culinary experiences while in college---and now enjoys Indian food. Hard to believe he's my husband's offspring! I'd love to make this for him and his roommates.

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    1. Hi Liz, your youngest and his friends will adore you for making this! Really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. I've never made a vindaloo but it sounds wonderful. I love that you can adjust the heat for different tastes.

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    1. Hi Chris, you owe it to yourself to try vindaloo sometime -- really a wonderfully flavored dish. Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Ooooh, this is one for my Peter, John... thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. Hi Lizzy, this is a good one. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I like the looks of that carrot salad with mustard seeds- it adds a lot of color to the dish. Tamarind paste- no problem- off to the local Asian market!

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    1. Hi Fran, that carrot salad makes a really nice side for this dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. I had the Indian Vindaloo, but never made myself...looks so tasty John, and I find funny you comparing to the chili con carne...
    Thanks for the recipe, hope you are having a great week :)

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    1. Hi Juliana, the chili con carne comparison is a bit silly. But also appropriate. Kinda. Sorta. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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    1. Hi Mimi, it is, it is. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. This recipe is loaded with full of flavors. Loved it. Thank you for the lovely share!

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    1. Hi Kushi, isn't this great? Love its flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  21. I can honestly say that I've never had pork vindaloo. All of your picture definitely sell how good it is, but it's that list of spices that has my mouthwatering. I rarely make Indian at home, but you make it look so easy and well-worth it! Thanks John!

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    1. Hi MJ, Indian is actually pretty easy to cook once you wrap your mind around the ingredients. And it sure helps to have food processors and other modern gadgets! Thanks for the comment.

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  22. John, I'm putting this recipe on the list of things to make when the hubby finally gets home! He loves dishes with these spices. I love polenta and I can't wait to try it all together :)

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    1. Hi Marcelle, the polenta goes so well with this! Hope you enjoy it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Hi John,
    This dish looks incredible! Spicy but wow! I have never made or eaten Pork Vindaloo before. Lots of ingredients and I was wondering if you used polenta under the meat. You did and I like that combo. Very interesting about this dish and its origin. I also liked that you paired it with the Indian Carrot Salad with mustard seeds from last week's post. Now that must be a dish to be reckoned with. Thank you for sharing and always teaching us new and exciting recipes. Enjoy your week..
    Dottie :)

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    1. Hi Dottie, polenta is wonderful stuff, isn't it? And goes with so many different foods. Particularly with this dish. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. I love Indian food and a dear friend who is Indian is a fantastic cook and I'm lucky to have enjoyed her talents many times. She does tease me about having to 'Americanize' her dishes for me...wow is that food spicy....and I like spicy!

    Not sure I've ever had vindaloo, seems that needs to change!

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    1. Hi Barb, you definitely nee to try vindaloo! Really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. These types of dishes end up being so flavorful and so worth the ingredient overload shock. And thanks for the vindaloo lesson. I've heard of it, but don't think I've ever had it. That must change. Thanks for sharing John.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, vindaloo is worth trying -- wonderful flavor. A lot of ingredients, but the method isn't too complicated. Thanks for the comment.

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  26. John, Our family adores vindaloo and the boys love it with full spice. I never knew that it had a Portuguese influence in this dish so that was really interesting to learn something new. I love how silky and deeply flavored your dish looks. I just want to dip a naan bread into the sauce. MMMMM. Wishing you a super week.

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    1. Hi Bam, naan is really nice, isn't it? My favorite Indian bread. We need to perfect our recipe on that before it's bloggable. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. Good morning John,
    I can't tell you how surprised I am to learn that pork is at the root of this dish. I'm a huge fan of Vindaloo but have never made it at home. I now wonder whether the vindaloo I enjoy is native to the original recipe.

    Thanks for diving into the history of this dish and sharing the recipe, John. It looks amazing!!!

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    1. Hi Louise, as with most recipes, vindaloo really evolved. But they all have the same basic structure (the biggest difference I see is whether you marinade the meat using all the spices and aromatics, or whether you use just some of them at first, and then add some of them later in the procedure). Thanks for the comment.

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  28. I've been hearing about this dish for awhile now but have yet to try it. I guess I need to change that. It looks terrific.

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    1. Hi Pam, it's a wonderful dish! SO much flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. I've never tried vindaloo before but it looks really delicious! Just perfect with rice!

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    1. Hi Jasline, vindaloo is good stuff -- worth a try sometime. Particularly if you like spicy food. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. My kind of dinner, meaty spicy delicious! A good beer on the side to finish

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    1. Hi Raymund, a beer is excellent with this. Or maybe two. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  31. I have never had Vindaloo, but I've always been intrigued by it. We picked up a spice packet at a local Savory Spice Shop to give it a whirl. Sounds delish!

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    1. Hi Judy, this is definitely worth trying. Really good flavor -- think you'll like. Thanks for the comment.

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  32. I’m such a sucker for similar dishes! Never had a vindaloo though! Love your recipe! Gonna give it a try soon!

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    1. Hi Marcela, definitely worth a try! If you like spicy, you'll love this! Thanks for the comment.

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  33. I love Vindaloo, but never tried pork Vindaloo. Isn't it so delicious with a bowl of rice or the side of the carrot salad? I am loving your series of Indian dishes :)

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    1. Hi Shibi, vindaloo and rice is a classic combo. The polenta is weird, but it really works too. Thanks for the comment.

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  34. Although I try not to eat meat as much as I can help it, this looks really sumptuous.

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    1. Hi Lux, this really IS excellent! Worth a try one of those times you're eating meat. :-) Thanks for the ocmment.

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  35. Personally, I love heat in a dish and this looks perfect! I will have to turn down the spice for everyone else, though :)

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    1. Hi Ashley, maybe you'll have to make two batches? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  36. I love using pork in a curry, it's a bit different. Perfect Friday night feast!

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    1. Hi Caroline, pork is different. And awfully good! Thanks for the comment.

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  37. You are on a roll, buddy! With some of great indian spices. Love vindaloo!!

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    1. Hi Kiran, we love vindaloo too! The spices are wonderful, aren't they? Thanks for the comment.

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  38. Wow, that is a long list. I happen to have some tamarind I picked up a while ago for a recipe, and have been looking for something to do with it. I love vindaloo. I love saying it almost as much as eating it.

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    1. Hi Jeff, vindaloo really is fun to say, isn't it? :-) More fun to eat! Thanks for the comment.

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  39. Honestly, this is a pretty versatile dish. I like how you gave options for what on hand (and not) when prepping the vindaloo. I would not have thought of pork. Did a two-potato vinaloo a while back and it was a hit. On the list....

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    1. Hi Debra, this dish is really all about spices and technique -- once you've figured out the basics, you can use almost any ingredient. A cauliflower vindaloo is spectacular! Thanks for the comment.

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  40. The polenta is a surprise addition. But I can see how that would go well, especially to sop up all that wonderful sauce.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, the polenta is a neat flavor combo with this. Really good! Thanks for the comment.

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  41. Indian con carne is a good description. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, Indian con carne -- I like that! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  42. Believe it or not, I've never had vindaloo. Your version looks excellent!

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    1. Hi Beth, vindaloo is wonderful stuff! If you like spicy, that is. :-) Definitely worth a try. Thanks for the comment.

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  43. John...this looks really fabulous! I've been experimenting with curries and Indian spices more lately. And I'm sure I would LOVE this recipe. Thanks for sharing it. And as always...I enjoy your spicy conversations with Mrs. KR. Brings a smile to my day! : )

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    1. Hi Anne, we always love those spicy conversations! Thanks for the comment.

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  44. Whenever my husband and I go to an Indian restaurant one of the items we always order is a vindaloo dish. With all those spices, your pork recipe sounds very good.

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    1. Hi Karen, isn't vindaloo wonderful stuff? One of our favorite dishes of any cuisine! Thanks for the comment.

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  45. Wow! Look at that spice list - I can only imagine the flavour you managed to acheive - that's a next level vindaloo!

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    1. Hi Amanda, this is a lengthy ingredient list, isn't it? So worth it, though! Thanks for the comment.

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  46. I love all the warm spices in this dish, and lucky for me, I'm a fan of recipes with heat!

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    1. Hi Kristi, this is pretty spicy. And good! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  47. I didn't know the history of vindaloo. So interesting! Love the idea of serving it polenta or grits too.

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    1. Hi Lisa, vindaloo is wonderful with polenta or grits. Sounds a bit odd, but it SO works. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  48. I love the dish and I love the story about its origins! It's always great to learn more about what you eat!

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    1. Hi Katerina, we love this dish too! Spicy is good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  49. I've started to leave a comment here about a dozen times only to get distracted! Honestly, I have the attention span of a squirrel! We adore Indian dishes and never shy away from the lengthy spice count, the more the more flavourful! The puns, on the other hand, rolling eyes here!

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    1. Hi Eva, yeah, those puns are something else, aren't they? So bad, but so fun to think of. Just can't resist. Thanks for the comment.

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  50. What a delicious flavorful dish this one is!!! Yumm I can smell it from here - with beef ofc. :). Unfortunately, I have to go the restaurant way - chicken or beef, but I bet this is going to be very good. Thanks.

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    1. Hi Amira, this is great with beef, too. Pork is just a fun variation for most people. Thanks for the comment.

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  51. Hehehe I love Mrs. KR's "for cayenne out loud"!!! I laughed, that's a good one! I didn't know vindaloo is from Goa! I love how detailed you explain about the food and it's always pleasure learning something new from your posts. I want to be in the kitchen when this is being cooked. Must be so nice~~~!

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    1. Hi Nami, this is really, really good stuff! Really deep flavor. And spicy, without been too hot. Good stuff! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  52. Spicy and pork are two things I love in a recipe. So I'm loooving this one John! Saved to make asap (which usually takes longer than what I originally plan...jaja!)

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    1. Hi Paula, I have a list of things to cook that's hundreds -- possibly thousands! -- items long. I'll never get around to all of them, but I can dream! This is so worth making, though, you should make a point of getting to it eventually. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  53. One of my husband's favorite dishes! Thanks for all of the detailed info about it!

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    1. Hi Alyssa, your husband will love this! Such a flavorful dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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