I recently had the most astonishing Suckling Pig Vindaloo at a restaurant called Gymkhana in London’s West End. It was nothing like the mouth-singeing vindaloos of my youth: this had heat, but an extraordinary lingering depth, layers and layers of flavours that just kept coming and building, like Minecraft on your tongue. I was blown away.
I would love to be able to re-create such a masterpiece at home, but I am a mere housedad, and we housedads don’t have the necessary tools, education, skills or time to be able to do what the chefs at ‘the restaurant opening of the year’ achieve.
So instead, I turned to my most trusted source for all things Indian: Dan Toombs aka The Curry Guy.
A couple of years ago he cooked an incredible vindaloo using a whole suckling pig.
I don’t have enough space in my kitchen for such a beauty, so instead I bought a rolled loin from a butcher and then used Dan’s methods to make the marinade and sauce, with some tweaking and additions to suit my needs.
Dan did’t use coconut milk in his finished sauce, but I wanted to make it stretch a bit further to give me enough sauce to cook this again (without all the effort).
And I’ve added sliced mushrooms and a tin of chickpeas at the end, again to make the dish goes further. Probably sacrilege, but hey, calm down, it’s only cooking.
This IS a LOT of effort. But, my word, WELL worth it. Good enough for me to SAY THAT in CAPITALS.
Here we go…
To serve 4
1 kg suckling pig (to be honest, you could also use pork shoulder)
FOR THE MARINADE
2 inch piece of ginger – finely chopped
10 cloves garlic – finely chopped
200ml dry white wine
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp salt
3 green chillies – finely chopped
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
½ bunch coriander leaves
1 tsp salt
1. Blend all the ingredients in a blender into a smooth marinade. Transfer to a non-metallic bowl.
2. Carve the pig into two halves and put in a bowl. Rub the marinade into the pig. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and marinade for 24 to 48 hours.
3. When you are ready to cook, transfer the pig and the marinate to a slow cooker and cook on LOW for six hours until the meat is very, very tender (if you don’t have a slow cooker, transfer to a casserole dish and cook in a low oven at 160C/Gas 2 for 2-3 hours).
4. Remove the meat from the cooking vessel and wipe off any excess marinade. With a sharp knife, remove the fat. Then chop the meat into thick chunks and slices.
FOR THE SAUCE
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
3 dried red chilli peppers
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp black cardamom seeds
1 tsp green cardamom seeds
1 3 inch cinnamon stick
1 heaping tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
8 fresh curry leaves (leave out if you can’t find them)
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 onion very finely chopped
2 inch piece of ginger finely chopped
6-8 cloves garlic – smashed and finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
300ml coconut milk, from a can (optional)
1. Dry fry the whole spices in a small frying pan over medium heat. Move the spices around in the pan so that they roast evenly. When the spices begin to smoke, remove them from the heat. Place the spices in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
2. Add the spice powder to the vinegar, salt and brown sugar to form a paste.
3. Place the oil or ghee into a large heavy saucepan. Throw in the mustard seeds and curry leaves.
4. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, throw in the finely chopped onions. Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent and lightly browned.
5. Put the ginger and garlic in a food processor with about 3 tbsps of water and blend to a paste.
6. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and spice powder to the pan and fry for about a minute.
7. Sprinkle in the turmeric and cook for one more minute, then add the coconut milk (if using).
• You can make the sauce ahead of time and reserve it until you’re ready to finish the dish.
TO BRING THE DISH TOGETHER
1. Transfer the sauce to a large pan.
2. Add the suckling pig chunks.
3. Chuck in any other ingredients you fancy (not essential) but I added sliced button mushrooms and a can of chickpeas.
4. Finish with slices of deseeded green chillies.
5. Serve with basmati rice and chapatis or wraps.