Gomanchala is one of the historical names for the state of Goa in western India where the popular curry known as a Vindaloo has its roots. Today’s experiment is not exactly a Vindaloo (and I will be looking at the traditional dish in a future post sometime), but it does share some basic features with the traditional preparations. Accordingly, I have decided to call this creation a ‘Gomanchala Curry’ in salute to the common origin…
- 1 ½ lbs. Pork cut into bite size cubes;
- 2 tbsp. Garlic puree;
- ½ tsp. each of Salt and Pepper;
- 1 tbsp. Cayenne;
- 1 tbsp. Maple Syrup;
- 4 tbsp. Vinegar;
- 1 tbsp. each Coriander and Mustard seed;
- 1 tsp. Fenugreek seed;
- 1 Cinnamon stick;
- 4 cloves;
- ½ tsp. Cardamom seeds;
- 4 tbsp. Butter;
- 3 cups coarsely chopped Onion;
- 3 -4 fresh green Chilies, thinly sliced into rings;
- 1 ½ cups thick tomato sauce.
**Note: The maple syrup may seem like an odd ingredient here but Goan cookery makes frequent use of palm sugar and the syrup gives a good approximation of the flavor. As for the chili, you may wish to increase or decrease the amount called for depending on the heat of your chilies and your own tolerance.
Rub the salt, pepper and Cayenne pepper into the meat cubes and then stir in the garlic puree, the maple syrup and the vinegar. Set aside to marinate for an hour or two or even overnight.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a pot over moderate heat and then brown the pork cubes in batches. Remove the meat to a bowl as it becomes done and set aside for the time being.
Dry roast the mustard, fenugreek and coriander seeds in a small pan and the grind to a powder. Now, heat the remaining butter in your pot and stir in the powdered spices. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom seed and stir until the fragrance is released.
Add the onions and then turn down the heat to low. Cover the pot and continue to cook for 20 – 30 minutes until the onions are soft and beginning to get nicely browned.
Finally, turn up the heat and add back the meat, the fresh chili and the tomato sauce. As soon as it comes to a low boil, turn the heat back down and simmer over low heat for about an hour until the meat is nicely tender. At this point, you can eat the curry right away but, if you can wait, it will be much better if you cool it and let it sit overnight in the fridge so that the flavors develop. Simply reheat slowly when you are ready to serve.
Well… my wife and I couldn’t wait until the following morning although I did let the curry cool for an hour or two before reheating it for supper. I have to say that the flavor of this particular effort was superb and I think it was the cardamom that really made it shine. Any more of this particular ingredient and it might have lacked subtlety but, any less and I think it would not have been nearly as delicious. The spice blend here would work very nicely with beef, quite probably with lamb, and even, I believe, shrimp. In any event, the next time I make this (and I will), it will be as the centerpiece for a much more elaborate meal…