A brand new year has just begun and I guess I am a little late in wishing all my readers a very Happy New Year 2014! Well, better late than never! As any good occasion needs to be celebrated I decided to post the recipe of Pandi Curry (pronounced as 'Pahnn-dhi' ) or Coorgi Style Pork curry that I have been contemplating to post since a very long time. The funny side of the story is that years ago when I was first offered this dish by a friend in college, prepared by her Coorgi neighbour I politely declined to taste it! Somehow the rich, dark colour didn't quite appeal to me and I wasn't so adventurous those days when it came to trying out new dishes. I simply stuck to known dishes and played safe. How I regret my decision. That was probably my only chance of having Pandi Curry made by a Coorgi. I could kick myself for being so silly.
A few years later when the blog came into existence and I did break out of my shell and got adventurous my first attempt at making this dish wasn't much of a success. I blamed it on the non availability of Kachampuli or Coorgi Vinegar, a rich dark liquid extract from a fruit called Kodampuli. It is also called as black vinegar and gives the dish its dark, rich colour and flavour. Coorg by the way is the anglicised name of Kodagu district in Karnataka. Madikeri/Mercara being its headquarters is a beautiful hillstation that most Mangaloreans have grown up visiting on holidays or to tend to their coffee estates. I have personally loved going there a couple of times although I don't recall having eating this famous dish during my trip. Coorg is famous for its beautiful hills, lovely weather, coffee estates, good looking men & women who are one of the most cultured and civilized people I have known.
Pandi Curry is pretty famous in Mangalore as our town is also home to plenty of Kodavas (native people of Kodagu) who usually come to Mangalore for their education. While we didn't have easy access to the recipe a few years ago, today if you wish to make it, many stores sell ready spice blends that help you make this dish in a jiffy. All you need is good quality pork with fat as fat is what helps lend this dish its amazing flavour along with the rich flavour of the spices. Kachampuli if not available can be substituted with thick tamarind juice or limes although the outcome of the final dish will greatly vary. Sadly some ingredients just don't have a suitable substitute.
My man tried this dish with locally available Pork last month and not being completely satisfied with the result lugged more than 5kg of pork all the way from Mangalore last week during our super short X'mas visit there. This time around the preparation was simply stunning that it got over in no time. I just about managed to save a small bowl for the sake of the pictures.
I wish all my readers a delicious, flavourful and aromatic New Year 2014!
Pandi Curry / Coorgi Pork
Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves 4
For the spice mix (to be dry roasted one by one and powdered)
- 1 kg pork with fat and skin, cut into cubes
- 10 fat cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 Inch ginger finely chopped
- 3-4 green chilies (deseeded if required) finely chopped
- 10-15 curry leaves
- 1 big onion finely sliced
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric power
- 1 cup of water
- little oil
- Salt to taste
- 1/2-3/4th tablespoon Kachampuli (adjust to taste) * see notes for substitute
- 2 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 inch cinnamon/cassia bark
- 5-6 cloves
- 10-15 peppercorns
- 1-1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 10-12 methi/fenugreek seeds (don't add too much or it will lend a bitter flavour)
- 10-15 curry leaves (optional but recommended)
1. Cook the meat with garlic, green chilies, curry leaves, onions, red chili powder, turmeric powder, little oil, water and salt till it is tender (Slow cooking the meat is recommended, however in order to save time it can also be pressure cooked for not more than 2-3 whistles depending on the quality of meat used) * see notes
2. Add the spice mix to the cooked meat. You may add a little oil but it's optional as there will be enough fat released from the meat. Cook on a slow heat for about 5-10 minutes till the water evaporate, the fat separates and the spices have blended well with the meat.
3. Do a quick taste check - add Kachampuli and more salt if required.
4. Remove from heat and serve hot with Coorgi rice rottis or neer dosa or rice.
1. Kachampuli or Coorgi vinegar is derived from a fruit called as Kudampuli in Malayalam and Gambooge/Malabar Tamarind/Garcinia Cambogia in English. If you don't have kachampuli you may substitute it with equal quantity of thick tamarind juice or lime juice. Kachampuli is available in most stores in Mangalore and in Lulu Hypermarket in Dubai, U.A.E in the section which stocks up on foodstuff related to Malabar/Keralite cuisine.
2. To speed up the task a bit we pressure cooked the pork that we purchased from Mangalore. However I do not recommend that you to pressure cook pork that is available in the UAE (usually imported from Brazil) as it is extremely tender and may turn squishy when pressure cooked. Slow cooking is the safest bet when you have no idea about the quality/tenderness of the meat.