‘Porking’ Fun (my article in the iDiva)

‘Porking’ Fun

Pork is a sparingly consumed delicacy in India. For cultural and spiritual reasons, several communities in India don’t really eat pork. People consume pork in India in the form of processed bacon, cocktail sausages and salami – usually breakfast food.

One of the reasons (apart from the religious one) that pork isn’t popular here is, it is considered unclean and it’s not easy to raise pigs in a confined area.  Organised pork production is nearly unheard of, and I have learnt that just one company specialises in this in the north-east called, Arohan. So like most meat dishes which don’t come into the market through a systematic cold chain, it is important that you know the source of your pork meat well.

There are a few states in India which are known to relish pork and have some amazing traditional preparations which I have been lucky to have tasted. I have eaten delicious pork dishes from Goa (pork vindaloo and sorpatel), Sikkim (pork momos and dumplings), Coorg (Pandi curry), Kerala (Pork Olathiyathu) and of course my very own Mangalore (pork sweet n sour, pork sorpatel and pork bafat).

Most people (eaters and non-eaters of pork) in India and abroad are aware of the vindaloo or the sorpatel version, and know little else about other traditional pork dishes. The balchaos and Goan sausages aren’t really on the top of the mind to recall either. The vindaloo, the balchao and sorpatel masalas are tedious to grind, so there are several establishments (eg. Karma in Goa) that make ready masalas which are extremely convenient.

Pork forms a very important part of the Mangalorean diet. Pork is something which we reserve for special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, festivals… basically any occasion which has a large gathering of friends and relatives. Pork is my favourite ‘festival food’. When there is pork, there must be a festival and vice versa.

Here is a preparation that is great when you are hosting a-spur-of-the-moment party. It’s quick and easy-to-make (and that is a secret that you can guard within the four walls of your kitchen). This is my Dad’s special recipe of pork in bafat masala, which I ask him to prepare every time I visit home.

The outcome is lip-smacking and the dish ‘looks’ complicated, so much so, you can bet no one will be ‘porking’ fun at your culinary skills.

Before preparing this dish, you need to decide whether you want the preparation to be with fat or not. You might choose to leave out the fat or keep it to a minimum when you buy pork. But in my experience, pork fat adds a different kind of a flavour to the whole dish.

Pork in bafat masala

Ingredients:

For marinating:

1 kilo pork (cut into half inch cubes)
3 medium size onions (cubed into 16 pieces each)
5 green chilies (slit lengthwise and cut into 3 pieces each)
1 inch ginger (finely chopped)
1 pod of garlic (peeled and slit lengthwise)
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 cardamoms
1 tsp turmeric
Half an inch of cinnamon
15 gms of tamarind soaked in water and made into a coarse pulp

Marinate the pork with the ingredients mentioned above, with salt to taste and keep aside for 15 mins while you prepare the masala.

For the masala:

10 red dry chilies
1 tsp pepper corns
1.5 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin seeds

Dry grind all these to a fine powder.

Other ingredients:

5-10 ml of vinegar
Salt to taste
Water
1 tsp of sugar

Method:

1.  Add the ground masala to the marinated meat, add water and cook on low flame. Ensure the meat doesn’t burn.

(Tip: Cover the utensil with a lid and put water on the lid to prevent the meat from burning. You can use this warm water on the lid to add to the meat in the vessel to make the correct consistency of the curry)

2. If required, add peeled and cut potatoes when meat is nearly done.

3. Add little vinegar and salt to taste.

4. Add a teaspoon of sugar (optional) for better taste.

5. When finally done, keep the utensil in a tilted position and allow the meat to cool a bit.

6. Pour out excess liquid fat

Pork tastes best when it is spicy. 10 red chilies and 3 green chilies in the curry might be too much for some. You might want to reduce the red chillies if you can’t take the spice. This preparation tastes good with homemade chapattis and can also be served with idlis or boiled rice.

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