Pork Vindaloo

One of my favorite Indian dishes is the Vindaloo, a slightly acidic and spicy meat stew from the Goa region in India. Even though in the western world, vindaloo is just another “hot & spicy curry from India”, the dish is actually inspired by a very popular Portuguese dish, carne de vinha d’alhos, which roughly translate to “marinated meat in vinegar and garlic”. It was brought to the Goa region by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century and after 200 years of improvements made by both Goanese and Portuguese cooks, when the British discovered this dish in the mid-1700s, it has transformed completely. However, when the dish was introduced back to the west, the tang from the vinegar was replaced by tomato sauce to reduce cost, meat is no longer marinated to save time, and the amazing balance of the different spices are lost under a blistering excess of chiles.

This Vindaloo recipe is very similar to that used by cooks from Goa, based on an early British India cookbook. The spices provide an earthy flavor that balances perfectly with the tangy-ness from the vinegar, and the heat is detectable, but not overwhelming.

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For the marinade, you need (*I use dried whole spices, if you use the powdered version, just use half the volume):

  • 8-10 Kashmiri chilies, dried
  • 1 tsp black mustard seed
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 piece garlic
  • 1 piece ginger (about the 1/2 of a thumb size)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (something neutral)
  • 2 tbsp water

For the Vindaloo, you need:

  • 1 lb pork shoulder (beef chuck or lamb leg)
  • 1 whole sweet onion
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup water

How to make this:

  1. Slightly toast the Kashmiri chilies, 72C87CDF-3BBF-43AC-8668-1BDFFD6E4BF2black mustard seed, cumin, and cloves in a pan, then place it inside of a food processor with the turmeric, garlic, ginger, vinegar, cooking oil and water. Blend the mixture until it turns into a thick paste.
  2. Cut the meat into 2inch/5cm cubes, them mix them with the vindaloo paste we just made, cover the marinated meat and place them in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but 24 hours is ideal.
  3. Chop the sweet onion, then place a deep pan over medium heat, add the oil and cook the onion with some salt and the cinnamon stick for 10 min. (I like to add 2 cloves of garlic to add some more garlic-ness)
  4. Add the marinated meat with all the paste into the same pan, cook for about 10 to 15 min or until the surface of the meat is browned. Then add the tomato paste, brown sugar and water into the pan. Bring it to a simmer, cover the pan and cook for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
  5. Serve the vindaloo with some warm fluffy rice. And Enjoy!IMG_1713
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Haddock & Salmon Kedgeree

The first time I had this dish in Hong Kong, I was quite confused as for why am I having curry for breakfast in a British restaurant. Turns out that this is a classic colonial dish the Brits brought back from India, and to be honest, the sweetness of the fish worked really well with curry, and with some light and fluffy rice and a soft boiled egg, it’s perfect for breakfast or brunch. Don’t get me wrong, you can have this for all three meals if you want, it is truly a simple, delicious and healthy (somewhat minus the butter) dish.

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You need: 3 eggs; 1 clove garlic; 1 shallot; 3 tbsp butter; 2 tbsp curry powder; 1/2 lb long grain rice (basmati rice would be the best); milk; 1 fillets smoked haddock (or fresh); 1 fillets smoked salmon (or fresh); 6 large prawn; 4 cups chicken stock; 1/2 lemon; 5 tbsp chopped parsley

How to make this:

  1. Melt half of the butter in a deep pan with a lid, mince the garlic and shallot, cook them on medium heat for about 4 min
  2. Heat up a pot of milk, bring it to a simmer, then poach the smoked fish for about 3 min, if you are using fresh fish, poach it for about 5 min. Cook the peeled and cleaned prawns for about 1.5 to 2 min
  3. Mix the rice into the pan with butter & shallot, stir for about 2 min so that each grain is covered with butter, then pour in the chicken stock, cover the pan and let it cook on medium for 13 min (if the chicken stock is hot) or 17 min (if the chicken stock is cold)
  4. In another pot, boil some water and cook the eggs for 9 to 12 min (depends on how tender you want your eggs), when they reach the cook time, place them in cold water
  5. Take out & dry the fish from the milk, then gently press the meat so that it would break into flakes, then after the rice is almost cooked (at 13 -17 min), carefully fold them in with the prawns, at this point the dish should have the same consistency as risotto, mix in the rest of the butter and juice from 1/2 lemon, add salt to taste
  6. Cover and cook for another 3 to 4 min, then turn off the heat, mix in the chopped parsley
  7. Sever it with sliced boiled egg, and some more parsley, try to fluff the rice with a spatula for a light texture

Aloo Tikki Chole

Since it was Diwali a couple days ago, and like many holidays around the world, a major part of this Hindu holiday is food, so I decided to make this delicious and easy North Indian chaat (savory desserts). I severed it on some Amritsari Chole, which is like a curry chickpea. Also, since there’s no meat or dairy in this dish, it is vegetarian.

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You need (for Aloo Tikki):

  • 3 medium size potatoes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro

You need (for Amritsari Chole):

  • 2 can chickpeas
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 cup canned chopped tomato
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 4 bay leaf
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

How to make this:

  1. Boil the potatoes for 40 min (while the potato is boiling, we will cook the Amritsari Chole)
  2. Chop the onion into fine bits, cook them in oil on medium until they turn translucent, mix in the salt, red chili powder, cumin powder, and coriander powder
  3. Add the tamarind paste and chopped tomato, keep stirring until it mixed evenly, add a splash of water if the mixture is too thick
  4. Cook the chickpea, bay leaf, cloves & brown sugar with the lid on, let it simmer on low
  5. While the chickpea is being cooked, take out the potato, peel off the skin, mash the potato
  6. Mix the potato with salt, cumin powder, coriander powder, fennel, red chili powder, ginger powder, bread crumbs and chopped cilantro
  7. Divide the mixture and form them into 6 small patties
  8. Fry the patties in oil on medium high for about 5 min each
  9. Sever the Aloo Tikki on top of the Amritsari Chole, with some mint chutneys and chopped red onion

Prawn Biryani

Among the recipes that I am going to post here, this sweet and flavorful Indian dish is going to be one of the more complex ones. It takes about an hour, but definitely worth every minute. Also, you can substitute the prawn with chicken or mutton, but it takes more time to marinate the meat.

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You need:

  • 1 1/2 lb prawns
  • 1 lb basmati rice
  • 2 sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 cardamom
  • 5 cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cashew nuts

How to make this:

  1. Roast the cumin, fennel seeds, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon sticks in a pan, ground them into powder with a pestle & mortar or a food processor
  2. Cut the 1 onion into thin slices and fry them in a medium high pan with some oil till they turn crispy
  3. Marinate the prawn with some turmeric, salt, red chili powder, ginger & garlic paste, 3/4 of the fried onion, chopped green chilies, mint leaves, lemon juice, yogurt, and spice mix, and let it sit for 30 min to 1 hour
  4. Soak the rice while the prawn is being marinated, for about 30 min
  5. Heat up a thick bottom pot, chop and cook 1 onion with some onion till it turns translucent
  6. Add the marinade and the prawn into the hot pan and let it simmer for about 5 min
  7. Boil another pot of water with some bay leaf and allspice, quickly partially cook the rice for 3 min, and drain out the water immediately
  8. Add the rice to the pot with the simmering marinade, close the lid and cook it on high for 10 min, then on low for about 8 min
  9. After it’s cooked, mix in the raisins and cashew nuts, sever it with the fried onion and some extra chilies