Pork Vindaloo is a tangy South Indian curry made with vinegar, chile and spices. While it’s actually a restaurant mainstay, the first time I tasted it was when I was visiting my friend Tina.
Tina’s family is from Kerala but she grew up in Dubai (just like my husband), where they actually went to the same high school. Though they rarely crossed paths there, they both later ended up in Vancouver. We connected over the serendipity, and years later, it brings you this curry.
One Sunday, Tina invited me to her church with her. There was lots of happy singing, and she held my hand and prayed for me in the most heartfelt way. It was very touching, I’ll always remember it. Then she brought me back to her parent’s home, where she filled my arms with favourite DVDs from her family’s old rental shop, and her mom (whom I’d only met that day) spooned a large portion of the steaming, fragrant pork curry that was to be their dinner into a plastic container for me to take home to share with Adarsh.
So many small gestures of love that day will be forever be associated with this dish.
This is not Tina’s mom’s vindaloo recipe (but remind me to get that). A typical vindaloo is screaming hot, so I tamed the flames to suit the palates of my little ones by reducing the chile and adding coconut milk. Coconut isn’t traditional, but it is delicious.
Just use water instead of coconut milk, and double (or triple) the cayenne if you want a more authentic version.
My mother-in-law says to always choose bone-in meats for curries, because the bone adds so much flavour. Plus, the meat nearest to it stays meltingly tender. The easiest bone-in pork to source around here is pork chops. I just snip most of the meat away from the bone with kitchen scissors and cut it into chunks, then toss the meaty bones right in the curry to simmer, too. Lucky is the person who gets one!
P.s. Tina is a very talented photographer (who did all the headshots of me on my social profiles and about page). I’m also friends with her lovely sister Sherrine, whose Instagram reminds me to be more present, to see beauty everywhere, and celebrate the little things. They’re both disarmingly sincere storytellers. You should follow them and be internet friends. <3
Pork Vindaloo Curry
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions thinly sliced
- 6 large cloves garlic minced
- 2 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp grainy mustard
- 1/2 tsp ground cayenne
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 2 1/2 lbs bone-in pork chops *see note in post or 1 1/2 lbs boneless pork, cut in 1" pieces
- Small handful cilantro leaves for serving
- In a large saucepan, cook onions in oil over medium heat until nicely golden, about 20 minutes, reducing heat if onions start to brown before they're soft.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, spices and salt in a small bowl.
- Add garlic to onions and cook 1 minute, then add vinegar mixture and cook a minute more, stirring frequently. Stir in coconut milk.
- At this point, you can add the pork, cover and simmer on the stove for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until pork is tender, or add the pork to a pressure cooker, stir in the sauce, and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Let the steam release naturally. Top with cilantro.