Experiment: Pork with Mango Pickle
In my recent ‘Foodstuffs’ post featuring Patak’s Hot Mango Pickle , I mentioned that, while I wasn’t especially keen on this product in its intended use as a pickle, I did think that it might work well as a Masala to use as a sauce base. Mango seemed like it might best compliment a pork dish and thus I conceived of the dish you see above…
The ingredients you see in the picture are not all used in the actual dish. Some are for a couple of ‘sides’ to complement the final service. The ingredients required to cook the pork are:
- 1 ½ – 2 cups of sliced pork cutlet
- 1 cup, or so, of sliced red bell pepper
- 4 – 5 tablespoons of Patak’s Hot Mango Pickle
- Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp. sesame oil (not shown)
For the sides…
- 1 half cup chopped tomato
- 1 half cup chopped white onion
- Few sprigs parsley (use cilantro, if you prefer)
- 1 quarter cup of roasted peanuts
First, mix the pork with the sesame oil and a few grindings of pepper and set aside. You shouldn’t need to add any additional salt, as the Mango pickle is quite salty to begin with. The pickle is quite chunky, so mash the pieces with the back of a fork until it makes a smooth paste. Then, mix the onion and tomato along with the chopped parsley (or cilantro) and set this aside too.
Next, heat a wok, or deep pan, and add a tablespoon or two of oil. When the oil is smoking hot, stir-fry the pork in a couple of batches until it is cooked through and nicely browned and then set it aside for a moment. Add the mango pickle to the pan along with a half-cup of water and, when it all starts bubbling, add back the meat and the bell pepper and stir regularly until the sauce reduces to a thick coating on the ingredients. Turn out into a heated dish for serving.
I served the meat dish along with a simple pilaf made with saffron and raisins. For a nice ‘eastern’ seasoning I added a couple of cinnamon sticks, a few cloves and some cardamom seeds (the green variety). At the last minute of cooking, just for a little added ‘tang’, I added a little lemon juice.
The ‘sides’ I prepared, the tomato-onion blend and the peanuts, are meant to be served atop the finished dish and this is how my wife and I ate it …
I was rather afraid that the mango pickle might end up being a little overpowering and cloying but it actually ended up working very well. The mango taste came through very nicely and, overall, it created a very subtle spicy warmth that complemented the pork and the pepper really well. I think that raw green pepper mixed with the onion might have been a better taste and color balance than the tomato but, otherwise, I was very pleased. On a secondary note, we have some leftovers for the next day and the blending of flavors overnight made it even better than on the first night. I will probably tweak the original recipe a little but this is definitely an experiment that worked