At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Thursday, January 03, 2013


One of the most typical of English dishes is vindaloo, a preparation which may be said to represent lower middle-class feasting in the same way that Chicken Tikka Masala is upper middle-class. Or perhaps normal food versus snooty.
Both of these are in competition for the British National Dish.
Altogether a very strange phenomenon.

You'd think that a country that invented spotted dick, peas porridge, and bubble and squeak, not even mentioning haggis, saveloy, Scotch egg, and the deep-fried snickers bar, would have a bit more pride in their own native culinary talent.
Did I mention 'boiled baby'? It's a plain suet pudding without any raisins added. Like its speckled cousin the spotted dick, it can be served with custard.
Both rare and delicious.

British cooking truly is a miracle.



Watching that got me all esurient. Viceroy Chicken is a mild curry with coconut cream and a little mango chutney added for sweetness.
Alas, far more British than Indian.
Ladies prefer vindaloo.
It's more real.

The typical Indian restaurant vindaloo is, remarkably, also far more British than Indian. Originally, vindaloo was Portuguese chunked pork marinated in wine and garlic, then the reinvention of the dish in Goa transformed it into a vinegar and chili pepper stew. In Indian restaurants in England and the United States, it is the standard restaurant curry with extra cayenne, ghee, and potatoes added.

The recipe below is not that.


2 Lbs. pork, cut into large cubes.
2 Large onions.
Minced garlic and ginger as you think fit.
1 TBS. ground cumin.
1 TBS. cayenne.
1 Tsp. ground coriander.
1 Tsp. ground black pepper.
1 Tsp. sugar.
1 Tsp. salt.
½ Tsp. cinnamon powder.
½ Tsp. turmeric.
Generous pinch of sugar.
One cup vinegar.
Hefty squeeze of lime or lemon juice.
Fresh cilantro.
Ghee, or any reasonable alternative.
A few whole red chilies, either fresh or dried.
Six green cardamom pods.
Three or four whole cloves.

Mix the vinegar and ground spices with the garlic, ginger, salt, and sugar. Massage this into the pork, and set it in the refrigerator for several hours.
Then chop the onions fine, and fry them in plenty of ghee or oil till golden, mooshing with a spatula as you go.
Cast the marinating pork into a sieve with a vessel underneath to catch the juices.
When most of the liquid has drained, add the meat to the pan and sear it well, turning with the spatula to ensure that the spices are also cooked. Then add the retained juices, and water to sparingly cover (approximately one cup), as well as the whole chilies, cardamom, and cloves, and simmer for about an hour on low, by which time the pork should be tender and the oil slightly separating.

Add the squeeze of lime juice and plenty chopped cilantro just before serving, and put the boiled rice and the condiments on the table at the same time.

If you wish, you can go kinda berserk with the garlic, and I wouldn't worry too much about the quantity of grease. It usually takes me one to two sticks of butter and a dash of olive oil to get this right. Besides, I add sambal ulek (red chili paste from a jar, either Indonesian or Dutch) to the pan when adding the meat, because it gives it a deeper, browner flavour.

A tablespoon or two of good sharp mustard added to the marinade is highly recommended, but in no way authentic.

No, lager does not go well with this at all.
Even if you ARE an Englishman.
Or from Australia.

Of course, if you want the standard restaurant vindaloo, made with either lamb or chicken, and potatoes, visit your local dhaba. There are tons of them all over the city, especially in the Tenderloin.
Ask any truck driver.

I really miss Jeet Singh Rawat's 'vindaloo' potatoes. Absolutely lovely with hot naan and green chilies. More of a thechwan than anything else.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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  • At 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Lets help ATBOTH focus on something else besides Women. And Food. And Women eating food.

    Try this:

    In a Mass Knife Fight to the Death Between Every American President, Who Would Win and Why?

    Care to weigh in?

  • At 12:19 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Okay, that's goofy.

    I'm glad I now know about that post.

    Thank you.


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