The vindaloo is my favourite curry. Rich spices and tangy vinegar combined with a strong punch of garlic results in the perfect savoury dish. Curry leaves are important here, too – they add a distinct nutty flavour that you can't get from any other ingredient.
Pork shoulder can end up a bit dry when slowly cooked like this, so I've brined it beforehand. This allows the pork to retain more moisture when cooked and also adds seasoning, making the resulting dish more juicy and delicious. You can omit this step if you don't have time, which will reduce the total time of the recipe by 8 hours. For the brining time specified here, you should do it before cutting it into pieces, otherwise it'll be too salty As with many slow-cooked meat dishes, this one will taste better if made the day before and allowed to sit in a cool place before reheating. If you have time, I would definitely recommend this.
- 1.2 kg pork shoulder, in one large piece
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp bright red paprika
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1.5 tsp garam masala
- 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
- ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
- 15 fresh curry leaves
- 2 medium onions, finely sliced
- 2 tbsp peeled and grated ginger
- 10 medium cloves garlic, peeled and grated
- 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 120 ml cider vinegar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 handful baby spinach leaves
for the brine
- 2 litres water
- 115 g salt
- 65 g sugar
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 clove garlic
- 6 black peppercorns
- 1 blade mace
Firstly, make the brine. Put half of the water in a pan with the rest of the ingredients for the brine and bring to the boil. Once the sugar and salt has dissolved, pour in the other half of the water. This will make it cool down faster. Once it's cooled to room temperature, place the pork shoulder in so it's completely submerged and place in the fridge for 10 hours.
Remove the pork from the brine and drain in a colander. Cut into approximately 1 inch dice, then set aside. Mix together the turmeric, cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne pepper and garam masala in a small bowl and set aside.
Pour the rapeseed oil into a large, heavy-based pan and place over a medium-high heat. Add the diced pork and fry until lightly browned all over. The pork should comfortably fit in the pan in a single layer – do them in batches if necessary. There's no need to season the pork because it's already salty from the brine. Once the pork is all browned, remove from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
Add the mustard and fenugreek seeds to the hot fat in the same pan and, as soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, put in the curry leaves and onions. Stir and fry until the onions begin to turn brown at the edges. Now put in the ginger and garlic. Stir and fry for one minute. Add the mixed spices from the bowl and stir for 30 seconds. Scrape the bottom of the pan as you do this to prevent it sticking. Now add the diced pork along with any juices it may have released. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt and 380 ml of water. Stir and bring to the boil. Partially cover with a lid, leaving a small gap (use tin foil if you don't have a lid), reduce the heat to low and cook gently for 45 minutes, or until the pork is tender but not quite falling apart. Stir occasionally as it's cooking and top up with more water if it's becoming too thick. Finally, add the spinach leaves and stir briefly until wilted. Taste and add more salt if needed, then serve.