December 13, 2007
Ever lose your cool over a bag of something spicy? I’m talking about those little bags of whole and powdered masalas that add up to the wonder that is Indian cuisine.
Just when I think I couldn’t possibly buy another new spice, a recipe stumps me with the need for yet another obscure one. Like methi (fenugreek) seeds. Or anardana (pomegranate) seeds.
I proceed to dry roast and grind half a teaspoon. Knowing full well that the remaining 225 gm will languish in the kitchen cupboard.
The only moment I spare it a thought, or a curse, is when I swing open the cupboard door in a rush and the darned bag loses its balance and its contents spill all over me and the kitchen floor.
By the time I find another recipe that needs the wretched spice, it is so anemic that I might as well not bother.
Of course, this can only be worse if you live in a place where Indian spices are hard to come by and fairly anemic to begin with!
Pork and spinach curry is a real trooper when it comes to minimalist recipes. The ones that require no fancy ingredients and can be cooked when over-sized bags of fancy Indian spices are running in short supply.
A hearty, winter warmer, it is a one pot curry using a few staple masalas only. Give everything a good stir in a wok or kadai. I use cubed pork shoulder steaks as they turn tender quickly and soak up the spices well. If you prefer, you can pressure cook the lot before adding spinach. This is my tweak on a recipe from Michael Pandya.
A spicy treat that gaurantees a chilled out evening.
Bring the oil to medium high heat. When it is hot add, in order, the bay leaves, cumin, onion and garlic.
Fry for ten minutes until the whole lot starts going caramel brown. Stir in the pork pieces and brown for a few minutes until it is sealed on all sides.
Now add the tomato, chilli and turmeric powders and fry for two minutes until the tomato disintegrates.
Next add the spinach and the ginger. Cook this for about 10 minutes uncovered. Then stir in the garam masala and salt to your taste. You can also adjust the thickness of the curry to your preference, bubbling away the curry on a high heat if you prefer it drier.
To finish, stir in butter. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve hot with soft chappatis.