Serves 2-4 15 mins preparation | 1 hour cooking
Pork Vindaloo & The Zesty Cumin Seeds
Pork Vindaloo is undoubtedly one of the most powerfully flavoured Indian curries. No matter the fug you’re in, this curry fires up the taste buds just alright. Pork Vindaloo is a traditional dish from Goa.
The origin of the dish dates back to the 18th century when the Portuguese settlers had a desi influence in their cuisine. Pork steaks got fused with Indian spices and today a pork vindaloo is every Goan’s favourite. An ingredient in this version of the vindaloo is cumin seeds (“jeera” as they call it in India). These thin, crescent-shaped seeds are super nutty and peppery with a musky bitterness. They are brown in colour and have longitudinal ridges on its oblong body. Cumin seeds are widely used in the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and a few other parts of Asia majorly for its health benefits. South-Indian households are known to drink ‘jeera-pani’ instead of plain boiled water for its digestive abilities.
Benefits of the Cumin Seeds
The iron content in cumin seeds makes them a good source of the same and prove beneficial, especially for anaemics, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
It is an extraordinary aid in absorption (i.e. digestion), counteracts heartburn, flatulence, the runs (i.e. diarrhoea), queasiness (i.e. nausea) and morning disorder.
These musky seeds also pump the liver and help flush out toxins from the body.
And given that this spice is a hot one, it dries up the mucous and keeps a cough from collecting in the respiratory system.
Cumin seeds help the pancreas in secreting the enzymes responsible for the absorption of nutrients in the body.
Cumin seeds also have germicide properties and help in curing normal colds.
4 easy ways of consuming the cumin seeds
1) Chewing a handful of raw cumin seeds is a quick fix to acidity.
2) By adding cumin seeds in a pot of boiling water with coriander leaves and a pinch of salt you can get a decoction ready for whenever you feel uneasy in the tummy.
3) Lastly, sprinkle these seeds into your desi (Indian) or Tex-Mex dish to add a peppery spin.
4) Roast carrots with butter, cumin, thyme and za’atar in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees, then take it out and top it off with hazelnut dukkah and voila…
Pork Vindaloo Recipe
Here’s a non-vegetarian example of using cumin seeds in a spicy, Goan pork vindaloo. Bear in mind that it needs to be slow cooked for about an hour. My version has been tamed down a bit, add more chillies if you like it hot.
- 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
- 2 to 3 dried red chilies
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
- 1 3-inch stick of cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 cup water
- 2 pounds’ pork, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1-inch cube fresh ginger, chopped
- small whole head of garlic, peeled & separated
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Cooked Basmati or long grain white rice
- Toasted cashew nuts
- Cauliflower puree
- Toasted curry leaves
- Micro coriander
01. Grind cumin seeds, red chilies, peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, black mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds in a coffee mill or spice mill. Put the ground spices in a small bowl.
02. Add the vinegar, salt and brown sugar. Set aside.
03. Heat the oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Put the onions in and fry, stirring frequently, until the onions turn brown and crisp. (Be careful not to over-brown or it will have a burned taste.)
04. Remove onions with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Place cooked onions into an electric blender or food processor. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water and puree the onions. Add this puree to the ground spice mixture in the bowl. (This is the Vindaloo paste.)
05. Rinse blender or processor and add the ginger, garlic and 2 to 3 tablespoons water and blend until you have a smooth paste.
06. Preheat the oil remaining in the pot that you cooked the onions in, over medium-high heat.
07. Cook the pork cubes a few at a time, browning lightly on all sides. Remove each batch with a slotted spoon and keep in a bowl. Repeat until all the pork has been browned.
08. Now add the ginger-garlic paste into the same pot. Reduce to medium heat. Stir the paste for a few seconds.
09. Add the coriander and turmeric. Stir for another few seconds.
10. Add the pork cubes and any juice that has accumulated in the bowl, the vindaloo paste and 1-cup water.
11. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour or until pork is tender. Stir occasionally.
12. Serve over cooked Basmati or long grain white rice. And top it off with toasted micro coriander, toasted cashew and curry leaves.
13. Health Tip: - Make a healthier version of the vindaloo by serving it with some creamy cauliflower purée rather than rice or naan.