The complexity and depth of Badmaash’s Goan pork curry, created by Pawan Mahendro and his sons Nakul and Arjun, comes from three distinct stages of cooking. None is hard and all are worth the minimal effort. Start to finish, the dish takes two days. But you’re only actively cooking for a half hour or so. And then you can enjoy this dish for many meals, especially since the layers of spice, sweet, sour and heat become more nuanced over time.
Toasting and blending your own spice mix ensures a fresh fragrance in the resulting curry. The aromas intensify when mixed with fresh chiles, garlic and ginger in a tangy marinade that soaks into fatty chunks of pork shoulder and belly over a day or two. After a long simmer in a caramelized onion and tomato sauce, the meat becomes tender enough to cut with a fork. Serve it with lots of basmati rice to soak up all the sauce.
Make the spice mix: Heat a large, heavy-bottom skillet over medium-low heat, add the dried chiles, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, black peppercorns and cloves. Toast, stirring frequently, until very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Cool completely and pulse in a spice grinder until very finely ground. Pulse in the turmeric and cayenne.
Marinate the pork: Combine the spice mix with the serranos, garlic, ginger, jaggery, molasses, tamarind and red wine vinegar in a large bowl and stir until well mixed. Add the pork shoulder and belly and mix well with your hands to evenly coat the pork. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours, the longer the better.
Make the curry: Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until golden and caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the bay leaves, mustard seeds, and curry leaves and stir well for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir vigorously and constantly until the garlic begins to turn golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the marinated pork with its juices and 2 tablespoons salt.
Raise the heat to high and cook the pork, stirring frequently, until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring frequently and adding water if the sauce seems to be drying out, until the pork shoulder is tender but not falling apart, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Stir in the tamarind paste and season with salt. Garnish with the sliced red onion and serve hot.
You can buy all the spices, including curry leaves, jaggery and tamarind paste online or at Indian markets.
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