This dish comes from the Coorg region of Karnataka. A pleasant hill station perched in the Western Ghats, Coorg is often referred to as the Scotland of India and is rich in wildlife. The Kodava people were avid hunters in years gone by. The local wild boar provided them with easy pickings and became a staple food, marking the beginnings of the famous Pandhi Curry. Today, many Kodava families have their own pigs and this remains one of their favourite dishes. The meat is cooked twice – first braised slowly until tender, then stir-fried to finish the dish. The high heat during the second cooking caramelises the onions and meat, adding a depth of flavour. This double-cooking technique is also found in certain Bengali-style bhunas.
750g pork loin, cut into 4 cm cubes
FOR THE MARINADE
2 tablespoons Ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons salt
8-10 black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
4 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
10 kokum berries, soaked in 100 ml hot water for 30 minutes
FOR THE STIR-FRY
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
or 2 tablespoons corn oil
4 dried red chillies
10 fresh curry leaves
4 red onions, sliced
- Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade, including the soaking water from the kokum berries. Add the pork and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, transfer the pork to a heavy-based saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 1 hour or until the pork is very tender. Drain the meat, reserving the liquid.
- Heat the oil for the stir-fry in a large frying pan or wok and add the dried red chillies. Let them darken, then add the curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds or so, until they start to crisp up.
- Now add the sliced red onions and sauté until translucent. Add the drained pork and cook, stirring constantly, for 6–8 minutes, until caramelised.
- Add a tablespoon or two of the reserved cooking liquid and continue to cook until it has evaporated. The meat will acquire a shiny glaze. Correct the seasoning and serve with steamed rice.