Christians across India make distinctive dishes to celebrate Christmas that are quite regional and some influenced by the cuisine of the settlers in the region. Pork Vindaloo is a typical Christmas dish made by Goan Christians to celebrate the festival. This dish represents a confluence of the indigenous and Portugese cuisines.
The Vindaloo or Vindahlo derives from the Portuguese dish, Carne de Vinha d' Alhos, a dish of meat, usually pork, with wine and garlic. It was adopted in India with a heapful of spices and using malt vinegar instead of red wine. Alcohol is not typically used in food preparation in India.
Contrary to its popular adaptation in the West, the Vindaloo is neither a fiery hot dish nor a curry. The dish is meant to be mild and tangy (from the vinegar) and is a really a pickled pork dish.
It is usually served as a main dish with rice or bread. You can also serve them as appetizers nestled in puff pastry cups.
Goan Pork Vindaloo
(24 appetizer cups or serves 4 as main)
500 g fatty pork shoulder, boneless or pork belly
¼ cup malt vinegar
8-10 medium spice dry red chilies (Kashmiri chilies), deseeded
5 cloves of garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
6-7 whole peppercorns
1 stick of cinnamon
2 medium red onions
½ stick of cinnamon
Warm the vinegar and soak the chilies in it for about 30 minutes. Cut the pork into 2inch pieces, sprinkle with salt and set aside. Drain the chilies and reserve the vinegar. Grind the dry spices into a fine powder. Add the soaked vinegar to the powder. Add the chilies, garlic and ginger and grind to a smooth paste. Pat the pork dry and toss in the spice mixture to coat well. Marinate the meat in the spices overnight.
Grind the onions into a puree and add to the pork. Toss to mix well. In a pan roast, the cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns until their aromas release. Add the marinated pork mixture and cook for 2-3 hours over low heat adding as little water as possible and stirring occasionally to prevent sticking at the bottom.
The vindaloo is best eaten the next day as the flavors meld together better.
To make the pastry cups, roll out each puff pastry sheet into a 12 inch square. Cut into nine 4 inch squares and fit them into cupcake pan. Fill with the pork vindaloo and bake at 400 F for 15 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Served with a dollop of sour cream or fresh cream and sprinkled with herbs.