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5 from 12 votes

Pulled pork vindaloo

This is a fun riff on a traditional Goan dish.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: pork vindaloo, vindaloo, vindaloo pulled pork
Servings: 6 big sandwiches
Calories: 364kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen

Ingredients

The spice mix

  • 2 tbsp kashmiri chili powder Kashmiri chili powder is mild. Don't substitute hot chili powder.
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor powder (optional but a nice addition)
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt - you may need to a bit more at the end to taste

The vindaloo pulled pork

  • 3 tbsp neutral oil canola or vegetable
  • 3 lb pork shoulder
  • 1 1/2 cups shallots thinly sliced
  • 1 3 inch cassia bark
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 10 curry leaves fresh (or frozen) but never dried - optional but tasty
  • 1/4 cup garlic ginger paste make your own. Please. Pretty please. There's a link in the notes...
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste diluted in enough water to get to the texture of a thick passata.
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar I know it isn't traditional. Roll with it.
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste not concentrate. Concentrate is - well - too concentrated.
  • water or no sodium chicken stock to make the liquid in the pot come up around halfway up the way up the pork.

Instructions

Do your prep

  • Make your spice mix. Combine the Kashmiri chili powder, coriander, amchoor, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Slice your shallots. Get the whole spices ready. Dilute the tomato paste with water.
  • Preheat your oven to 300F.

Brown the pork

  • Heat the oil in a dutch oven or heavy, oven safe pot with lid over medium heat. You want something that's big enough to fit the pork but not so large the pork gets lost in it.
  • When the oil starts to shimmer add the pork (all of it in one piece) and brown on all sides. Regulate the heat so you get good browning but not so hot things burn. The short sides will be much harder than the two opposing large sides. Don't kill yourself. Just do the best you can. It will all work out in the end.
  • When you have browned the pork, remove it from the pot and set aside. Look at how much fat is in the pan.
    The pork will likely have thrown some fat and spatter will have taken some from the pot and spread it out on your stove (sorry about that). Don't clean it up just yet. There's a little bit more spatter to come.
    You want 3-4 Tbsp total liquid fat (oil or rendered pork fat) in the pot so add or remove as required.

Get the braise ready

  • Reduce the heat to medium low.
  • Add the cassia bark, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Cook for about 30-45 seconds. You should see little bubbles forming around the whole spices.
  • Add the shallots. Once the shallots start to soften scrape up any of the fond that will should have formed when you browned the pork.
    Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions start to brown. Brown is not light tan. You want some colour here. This should take 5-7 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic ginger paste. Cook until the splattering stops. The messy part is now done. It's safe to clean your stove.
  • Add the spice mix. Stir. This is called blooming spices and it's where some serious food magic happens. If your pot looks dry add a splash of neutral oil. You want this to cook out but don't want spices sticking or burning.
    Cook the onion spice mixture for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and stir to combine.
  • Stir in the cider vinegar, brown sugar and tamarind.
  • Return the pork to the pot. Add enough water or chicken stock to come about halfway up the pork. Chicken bouillon cubes are not chicken stock.
  • Bring to a gentle simmer.

Braise the pork

  • Cover the pot and place in a 300F oven.
  • After 45 minutes remove the pot from the oven, flip the pork (good restaurant tongs are worth their weight in gold), cover and return to the oven.
  • You are going for an internal temperature around 200F. This will take somewhere around. 90 minutes to 2 hours. I can't tell you how long exactly. Depends on the piece of meat. Depends on the precise temperature of your oven (and my oven). But you should start checking at around the one hour mark.
  • Once you hit 200F you should be able to poke the meat and feel it give. It should shred pretty easily when you tug at it with your tongs.
  • Remove the pork from the pot. Tent with foil and set aside. You will want it to come down to about 140F before you shred. Plan on 20-30 minutes for that.
  • Defat the sauce. Let the sauce sit for a few minutes. You should see the rendered fat starting to pool. Pork shoulder is a fatty cut and you need to remove some of it. Saying that kills me because that fat is loaded with oil soluble flavour compounds extracted from the spices. But it's just way too oily if you skip this step.
  • When you have it to the texture you want taste it. If it needs salt add a bit. Stir. Taste again. Creep up on the right salt level. Keep in mind slightly under salted is always way better than over salted.

Finish it off

  • What's in your pot right now is Indian-ish barbecue sauce. A little sweet. A little tart. And a little spicy. Delightfully porky.
    You want it the consistency of thin barbecue sauce. It might already be there. Or you might need to reduce it a bit over medium heat while the pork rests. Your call. Think coat a spoon consistency. Think cream.
  • When the pork has cooled to 140F or thereabouts shred it. Two forks. Bear claws. Heat proof gloves. Whatever works for you. Just get it shredded.
  • Return the shredded pork to the sauce. Stir to combine. Taste. Smile. Be happy.

Make the sandwiches

  • Vindaloo pulled pork is great on a toasted brioche bun with Indian slaw. It's completely over the top on a toasted, buttered brioche bun with Indian slaw.
  • Toast the buns. Butter the top (optional but tasty). Have the Indian slaw ready. Spoon out a good layer of pulled pork on the lower half of the bun. Top with slaw and the brioche crown. Eat with your hands. Enjoy.

Nutrition

Calories: 364kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 614mg | Potassium: 872mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1326IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 4mg