There’s a great group of spice shops in my area. I wandered in recently to think about how to add more flavor to my bread, and for extra Saigon cinnamon for holiday baking. While I was there, they reminded me that loyalty club members get a free blend during their birthday month. I’m a loyalty club member, and it’s my birthday month, so I started assessing my options.
As I came in the door, I’d seen a bunch of Indian blends— tandoori and vindaloo and curries and things. It made me think about things I want to try to make for mom. She’s always talking about how she likes “peasant food”— hearty, one-dish meals, casseroles and stews, and I thought Indian food might be a horizon to explore.
So I tasted several of the blends, and ended up with vindaloo, as an option that could satisfy us both. Aromatic for me, a little spice for her.
We ended up with a snow day this week, and when I thought about what to make, I decided there was no time like the present to try out my vindaloo blend.
I chose this recipe. I used the vindaloo spice blend instead of the first several ingredients, and a comically large Costco onion, instead of two medium onions. I also used pork for stew meat, ground ginger instead of fresh, and rice vinegar instead of white wine vinegar (it’s what I had).
It smelled incredible, I could eat the vindaloo paste with a spoon all by itself (vinegar and aromatic spices, oh my! Garlic and ginger, my faves!). The pork was incredibly tender, and overall, it was relished by all.
The next time I make it (and there will so be a next time), I’m going to discard most, if not all of the oil in which I brown the onions and meat before I add the ginger and garlic to the pot. The recipe doesn’t specify that, but the sauce had a resulting large pool of oil on top that I don’t want to encounter again (the Interwebs taught me sop it up with paper towels the way you do with pizza— they absorb just the oil. That worked, but it bothered me that it was necessary). I skipped buttering the cauliflower, trusting that the extra oil in the vindaloo would offset that step, and it did, but why not just skip it, since it adds no value after you brown the meat?