Friday, 30 October 2015

Pork Ularthiyathu: Kerala Syle Pork Roast


The Spectator

"Why don't you go and talk to some of those who have come from other places? You are always so silent. You should talk to others!"

I had tried, though I didn't argue the point.
I was in the midst of a thousand people, and yet I could have been a thousand miles away from them. This aloofness of theirs is nothing new, though it frightens me every now and then. They flit past me as though I was not there, busy with their own things or searching for their friends. I can see their eyes, either hastily pulling away from me or just staring straight through, as if I was invisible.

It used to keep me on the edge, irritate and depress me. Happily, I have come out of that phase. The skip and the dance don’t really bother me now. I can even be amused by it all if I try. Or at least that is what I want to believe myself; for sometimes this staunch impassivity does worry me and makes me wonder whether there is something really repulsive about me or if it is just a general disinterest of others in a tongue tied person.

I am the spectator. Not even the curtain puller - just a plain spectator; one who has no part in the act. Solemn and Silent.

In a place where one wouldn't expect it to happen; where one would think everyone present is bound by a joyous spirit of oneness, I stand out. But then, I have always been bad at conversing with people.

I would rather listen than speak.
I would rather walk alongside and catch you when you stumble than make myself seen.
I would rather be the spectator than the lively performer.
The passages above verges on sounding cryptic, I know. It was advertent.

As for the recipe, Pork is not usually on the menu here. But we do love it and buy it at most once in a year and usually on an impulse. This time was no different. A couple of months ago, we had gone to a store, hoping to find fish fresher than what was being sold by our regular store. Alas! Their supply was even more pathetic than our regular place's; and that is saying a lot, considering the sickening sky dive in quality that the latter has taken in the last half year or so.

Sigh!
We should actually go to a local market. That's out best bet. Not that we don't know of it. But the 'getting up early' doesn't happen for us, except on Sundays for Church. By the time we will manage to drag our lazy selves to the markets, there won't be much left. An even greater factor is that vendors seem to sense our ingrained inability to argue and bid with them the moment they see us. Invariably, we get quoted obnoxiously high prices.

So we like to pretend that there is no choice left to us than to scour the stores for dead-not-long-ago fish; the 'not long ago' period being more stretched than we are happy about it on some days. (Sorry, that was gross. But I couldn't help it. Excuse the rant of someone who used to live near backwaters, with a husband whose home is a short drive from the beach.) So anyway, I didn't want to return home empty handed from the second store too and since they had pork, we thought it better to go for it.

My sister and I normally go for a Vindaloo like curry with pork, though this time around, I wanted to cook a Kerala version.

Pork Ularthiyathu: Kerala Syle Pork Roast

Ingredients:

To Marinate and then Pressure Cook:
  1. Pork - 1/2 kg
  2. Onions, sliced - A scant cup
  3. Garlic, crushed - 1/2 tbsp.
  4. Ginger, sliced and then crushed - 1/2 tbsp.
  5. Home made Meat Masala Powder - 1 tbsp.
  6. Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder - 1 tsp.
  7. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp.
  8. Natural White Vinegar - 1/2 tbsp.
  9. Curry Leaves - 5 or 6
  10. Salt
  11. Water
To Roast the Meat:
  1. Shallots, sliced finely - 1/2 cup
  2. Sliced Coconut - 1/3 to 1/2 cup
  3. Ginger and Garlic, Freshly pounded together - 1 and a 1/2 tsp.
  4. Coriander Powder - 1 heaping tbsp.
  5. Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tbsp.
  6. Home made Meat Masala Powder - 1 tsp. + More if needed. (See Notes.)
  7. Curry Leaves - 1 stalk
  8. Salt - To taste
  9. Sugar - A pinch
  10. Coconut Oil - If needed. (You most probably will be able to skim the fat off of the pressure cooked gravy. I use this separated fat alone in the making of the masala.)
Directions:

Marinate the pork with everything mentioned in the first section of ingredients except water and keep aside for half to one hour.

After that, add just enough water and pressure cook the pork till done. (You can use a heavy pot with a tight lid too. That would take you much longer than a pressure cooker though.)

Once the meat is done, heat up another pan. Skim the fat off the cooked pork and add it to the pan. Add the pounded ginger and garlic and sauté till the raw smell is gone. Add the shallots and cook till they turn a light brown. Now add all the powders, curry leaves and sliced coconut. (You can add the sliced coconut along with the shallots too.) Quickly stir around (sprinkle a bit of water if the heat is too much to prevent the spices from burning.)

Now add the cooked meat and a pinch of sugar. Bring everything to a boil and then allow to simmer till the gravy reaches a consistency that you prefer. I have allowed the gravy to almost dry up, though not quite so. Check for seasoning and add salt as well as meat masala if needed.
Serve warm with rice and other sides.

Notes:
  1. As with dishes of this kind, the pork roast tastes better the next day. So I would recommend preparing it a day ahead.
  2. If the meat masala is freshly ground, you might not need to add it along with the other spices when roasting the meat. In that case, taste and add if needed once the gravy gets thick.
  3. The way the final dish is going to look like depends a bit on your expertise with this style of cooking. It takes a bit of patience to bring everything together. A well roasted dish will not taste burnt or nearly burnt. (I like to leave a bit of gravy sticking on, rather than making it too dry for pork, unlike in the case of this Beef Roast that was posted some time ago.)

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